Missoula, MT - In his first 100 days, President Trump has taken dozens of actions that threaten clean air, clean water, and treasured places like Glacier National Park.
“There is no question, President Trump is a disaster for our environment and public health. His actions will make our air and water dirtier; ensure we experience the worst effects of climate change even more swiftly; and will jeopardize our access and enjoyment of valuable public lands. Bottom line, these rollbacks put the health of Montana families at risk,” said Skye Borden, Director of Environment Montana.
We are quickly approaching the point where scientists say we won’t be able to stave off the most disastrous impacts of global warming. President Trump’s plans and policies move us in the wrong direction. He stacked his cabinet with big oil allies and climate deniers, plans to dismantle the Clean Power Plan which put the first ever federal limits on global warming pollution from power plants, and ordered the EPA to reconsider clean car standards.
All of this is happening as global warming pollution and other pollution resulting from burning fossil fuels is extending the wildfire season and harming our families’ health. In 2015, counties in western Montana experienced up to 159 unhealthy air days with elevated particulate matter levels due to wildfires. Increases in particulate matter can cause coughing and throat irritation, asthma and permanent damage to the lung tissue, as well as heart attacks and heart failure.
“We used to say climate change was a problem happening somewhere else in the world to somebody else. Unfortunately that’s no longer true. It is here and now and only going to get worse for us here in Montana, around the country and the world if President Trump has his way,” said Borden.
Clean water is vital to our ecology, our health, and our quality of life. Many Americans depend on rivers and streams for safe drinking water. But the Trump administration is working to rewrite the Clean Water Rule, putting drinking water for 1 in 3 Americans including nearly 238,000 Montanans at risk.
Our public lands, forests, oceans and special places like Glacier National Park are part of what makes America great. Oil and gas drilling risks Montana’s public lands including the Badger-Two Medicine area adjacent to the park. This region is home to many of the state’s most rare and sensitive wildlife species, including lynx, wolverines, and harlequin ducks. Plans to expand drilling threatens the region’s fragile ecosystem and risks Montana’s outdoor recreation industry, which generates over $403 million in state and local revenue and 64,000 jobs.
“I know for my family, getting out and enjoying wild places like the Two Medicine area is one of the biggest benefits of living here. Trump’s policies put that place and many others across the state and the nation at risk,” said Borden.
A swift transition to renewable energy is important for reducing global warming pollution, and will make our air cleaner while keeping many of the nation’s landscapes more pristine. We have the technology and sources of energy needed to make a rapid transition away from dirty energy to renewable power. Unfortunately, President Trump is doubling down on the dirty energy of the past by approving projects like the Dakota Access and Keystone East pipelines, and dramatically reducing funding for needed research. Without a commitment to transitioning to clean and renewable energy, facilities such as Idaho National Lab in nearby Idaho Falls and others that focus on research in solar, wind and renewable sources of power are at risk. President Trump’s policies move us in the wrong direction at a time when we need to be setting ambitious clean energy goals, bolstering learning and research, and driving innovation.
“Montana’s solar industry is just starting to gain momentum. It would be a travesty if President Trump’s policies put that progress in jeopardy,” said Borden.
President Trump is also taking action that will expose our children and families to even more toxic chemicals. His budget proposal eliminates two different programs within the EPA that protect kids from lead paint, as well as eliminating $330 million in Superfund money to clean up the worst toxic waste sites, including Silver Bow, Libby, and seventeen other sites in Montana. His EPA has also approved use of a pesticide, chlorpyrifos, that their own scientific research has shown is unsafe for public health, water quality, and wildlife.
“No matter who we voted for last November, none of us wants to expose our kids to more toxic chemicals, make our air and water dirtier. The vast majority of Americans oppose moving backwards on climate, or selling off our public lands to the highest bidder. Any way you look at it, these last 100 days have been a disaster for our environment and our families’ health,” said Borden.