Monday, December 17, 2018

Trump’s America First Environmental Policy Agenda: Killing Clean Energy and Targeting Latinos

The Trump Administration’s decision to backtrack from the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) is a continuation of its attacks on environmental protections and underscores its anti-science policy agenda, and policies that discriminate against communities of color with unparalleled precision.

President Trump announced that he would be taking “historic steps to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion, and to cancel job-killing regulations.” Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, who had previously stated that coal jobs would never come back to states that had historically fueled the coal industry, stood with EPA Administrator Pruitt as he proudly declared that “the war on coal is over” in front of an audience of miners and coal industry leaders.

According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Voces Verdes, nearly half of the country’s 56 million Latinos live in the 15 worst areas for ozone pollution, putting them at risk of serious health issues. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control noted that Latino children are 40 percent more likely to die from asthma than non-Latino whites, and nearly 10 percent of Latino children under the age of 18 suffer from this chronic respiratory illness.

By undermining the CPP, the Trump Administration has capitulated to a small group of wealthy coal industry CEOs more concerned with their bottom lines than with the lives of the miners they employ, the communities of color they impact, and the general public they endanger.

Within just the next 12 months, employers surveyed had expected to see total solar industry employment increase by 10 percent to 286,335 solar workers. In places like McAllen, Texas, where Latinos are overrepresented in some of the top clean economy occupations, the Trump Administration’s decision to back away from clean energy could have severe economic implications on the Latino community.

 

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