Trump Is Lying to You About the EPA

President Trump has installed an ally of the oil and gas industry, Scott Pruitt, as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and reportedly wants to eliminate clean water and climate regulations and slash EPA's budget and staff.To Trump's supporters in the Republican-led Congress, these changes mark an ideological shift. Elections have consequences, their argument goes, and voters have chosen the party that believes in liberating "job creators" from environmental regulations that stifle economic growth."We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job‑crushing regulations," Trump said during his address to Congress.The problem is, the Trumpian deconstruction of EPA is not based on a philosophical difference of opinion, but on talking points that are demonstrably false, but that, according to data from, benefit polluting industries that contribute disproportionately to Republicans.In other words, the president and his allies have launched an assault on an agency that, according to its own calculations, prevents the deaths of more than 160,000 Americans a year from air pollution. But the Trump method of warfare is not honest debate, but a misinformation campaign.The most obvious example is Trump's claim that climate change is a "hoax" invented by the Chinese, despite the consensus of scientists globally that it is real.Less frequently challenged by the media but just as false is the often-repeated claim that environmental regulations kill jobs. In fact, decades of economic research have documented that there is no evidence environmental regulations kill jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, only two-tenths of one percent of layoffs are caused by regulations, with job losses caused much more often by declines in business demand, corporate buy-outs, lower overseas labor costs and other factors.Republicans claim that Obama's EPA strangled the oil and gas industry. But crude oil production nearly doubled between 2008 and 2015 under Obama, and natural gas output jumped 34 percent, according to the Department of Energy, making America the No. 1 petroleum producer in the world. That's not a business killed by regulations.Congressional Republicans have been trying to drum up anger against the EPA among rural voters. A frequently told horror story is that the imperial EPA is now dictating what farmers can do on their own land. For example, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz claimed: "The EPA has tried to define a puddle ... on your farm to be navigable waters and thus subject to massive environmental regulations." In truth, the text of the regulations Cruz was talking about, the Waters of the U.S. rule, which is designed to protect wetlands and streams, explicitly excludes puddles.So what's going on here? We are witnessing a Bowling Green Massacre of American jobs and rights by EPA, a false tale repeated by Trump and his allies to scare people into thinking that we need a harsh crackdown on an enemy within.Except in this case, the real threat to the American people is that their health will suffer as they breathe in more pollution because of Trump's smokescreen of propaganda.Eric Schaeffer is executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and former Director of Civil Enforcement at EPA. Website:  Continue reading...

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