Trump and Scott Pruitt Are Selling Out Children’s Health and They Know It

by Naomi Ages

July 10, 2017

Donald Trump and his EPA administrator have admitted that blocking a rule to regulate oil and gas companies could harm kids’ health. They’re doing it anyway.

Girl with Respiratory Problems in Louisiana

© Les Stone / Greenpeace

If you thought the Trump administration would stop short of openly making America’s kids sick to cater to the fossil fuel industry, think again.

Trump and EPA head Scott Pruitt have long promised to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), both by crippling its budget and slashing key programs to protect clean air and water. With every step they take towards actually achieving this, the consequences become increasingly clear.

But this hijacking of an agency founded to “protect human health and the environment” isn’t coming out of nowhere. It’s the result of a corporate takeover years in the making.

The assault we’re witnessing on clear air and water started long before Trump took office.

As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt spent years suing the EPA and wrecking Oklahoma’s public health safeguards to benefit the fracking industry. As fracking-related earthquakes increased in both frequency and intensity across the state, Pruitt was caught secretly colluding with industry insiders to stifle investigations.

Now, Trump has given Pruitt a platform to unravel the EPA from the inside — and it’s his same fossil fuel industry buddies who stand to gain.

Oil and gas industry lobbyists enjoy unprecedented access to the White House and key agencies like the EPA right now, and the results speak for themselves. Whereas Trump has largely failed at advancing key pieces of his agenda — Trumpcare is stalled in the Senate, his Muslim immigration ban is stalled in the courts, his border wall is stalled in being a terrible and unexecutable idea — he and his administration of climate deniers have been much more successful at gutting environmental regulations.

From the Paris Agreement to the Clean Water Act, Trump and Pruitt are working to dismantle some of the most important lines of defense between a healthy environment and the fossil fuel industry.

That sounds bad enough, but it could get much worse.

Already on a roll, Trump and Pruitt seem to be getting bolder. Now they’re trying to block a rule that would regulate methane emissions from oil and gas companies, which the EPA admits could disproportionately harm children.

Their proposal would delay an Obama-era methane rule for an additional two years, during which time more kids would be exposed to more sickening methane, asthma-inducing smog, and benzene (a known carcinogen). On top of that, methane is a potent greenhouse gas, nearly 100 times as powerful as carbon dioxide at fueling climate change over a 20-year period.

At an EPA hearing earlier today, kids, teens, and parents turned out to testify to the impact of methane emissions on their health and communities.

 

It’s time put our children’s health before fossil fuel profits.

Like most of the decisions Pruitt has made since taking over the EPA, it’s clear that delaying this rule only benefits the fossil fuel industry.

The agency is taking public comments right now about this rule, and it’s up to all of us to speak up for clean air, clean water, and public health. Send a message to the EPA today telling them to stop selling out our children’s future to protect the fossil fuel industry!

Naomi Ages

By Naomi Ages

Naomi Ages is the Climate Liability Project Lead at Greenpeace USA. She focuses on establishing legal, political, and financial accountability for climate change, and achieving justice for climate-impacted and vulnerable communities.

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