According to numerous trusted sources, such as Reuters news service and Scientific American,President Donald Trump’s new administration has been taking measures that appear to be undermining green initiatives by the United States. His administration reportedly ordered on Jan. 24 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the climate change page from its website, which contains detailed data on emissions and links to scientific global warming research.
“If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear,” an EPA staffers who was afraid to be named told Reuters. The staff member also said various employees were trying desperately to save the information and convince the Trump administration to preserve at least parts of it.
There has been no response from the administration when asked about it. That is reportedly part of a strategy by Trump to cease all public communications to the public and the media by the EPA, in actions that appear designed to tighten control and discourage dissenting views.
The agency was also reportedly told to freeze all grants, contracts and new hires until further notice. This could affect up to well over $4.6 billion in current and future EPA contracts. This appears to an effort to change environmental policy, perhaps based on Trump’s apparently disbelief in climate change. Shortly after he was sworn in, all mentions of climate change were removed from the White House website.
These actions have raised concerns of government backing of scientific research showing that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming, and potential cuts at the agencies that conduct much of this research.
According to various news reports, the 20-member team appointed to transition the administration’s agenda has drawn heavily from the energy industry lobby and pro-drilling think tanks instead of the scientific community among which well more than 90 percent are firm believers that climate change is scientific fact.
Trump appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has battled the EPA and led 14 lawsuits against it, was appointed by Trump as the EPA’s administrator, although he has not yet been confirmed by the senate. However, unless some Republicans can be convinced that Pruitt’s long-time stance against the EPA should prevent his confirmation, the opposition will most likely be unable to stop the confirmation eventually.
While some optimists have pointed out that it’s not uncommon for new administrations to put temporary holds in place until new leadership appointed by the president is confirmed, most also admit that the current approach is generally much more drastic.
Similar directives had been issued to various other agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but if Trump’s past comments are any indicator, the EPA may be in for some of the most significant changes. He previously made campaign promises to severely cut environmental regulations. More than 29 recent agency rules such as Superfund site scoring and the 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard targets have also been nixed, at least temporarily.
It is not known how all of this will affect the green building industry, but few in the segment see it as positive.