In a very short amount of time, the Donald Trump Administration has proven an utter disregard for the planet and ecosystems. Trump’s contempt for the environment shouldn’t surprise anyone. Though calling himself an environmentalist, his campaign rhetoric included everything from an embrace of coal to stating that he wants more global warming because it was cold outside at a campaign stop.
If you voted for Donald Trump or if you didn’t vote, you chose to tolerate his approach to the environment. But it doesn’t do any good to go back to the campaign. Now that we’re in the thick of it, it’s time to look at the hell that’s being unleashed and come together for the fight. Frankly, what has unfolded so far couldn’t be much worse for fly fishing and its future.
The hell so far:
- On the afternoon of the inauguration, the climate page of whitehouse.gov was promptly removed from the site and promises were issue about deregulation of environmental protections.
- Northern Dynasty announced it has the support of the Trump administration and will move forward on Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Since then, there have been some ups and downs in the market for Northern Dynasty, but the threat is back. (More here.)
- Trump has given the green light to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Protesters were removed from the site, and completion of the pipeline is underway. (More here.)
- Trump has given the green light to the Keystone XL Pipeline. (More here.)
- The Trump Administration is moving forward on ending the Clean Power Plan. This puts the health and lives of Americans at risk and puts the brakes on any progress and much hope when it comes to a more sustainable future. (More here.)
- Trump is moving forward on gutting the environmental protections of the Clean Water Rule that formerly safeguarded rivers, streams, and wetlands. (More here.)
- The GOP in Congress has voted to gut the Endangered Species Act to allow more mining, drilling, and logging. (More here.)
- The Environmental Protection Agency has had grants, projects, and research halted and is now under a gag order preventing communication with the press. (More here.)
- Trump has killed the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule that keeps coal companies and mines from destroying rivers with pollution and waste. (More here.)
- The Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of catastrophic cuts that will put ecosystems and human health at risk. These cuts will end cleanup efforts of of destroyed ecosystems. Often, these efforts come alongside state projects. Now the states will struggle with how to resolve these key needs. (More here.)
- Critical government research on climate change will lose funding. (More here.)
- Despite some hope among anglers with Trump’s Interior Secretary pick, the administration overall has no regard for public lands, and Congress and state governors have recognized this and have introduced legislation that strip Americans of public lands or allow drilling, mining, logging, and other destruction of our lands. It is very clear: Trump’s priorities are oil and gas and a dying coal industry over public lands. (More here.)
- As the world’s sole leader that does not believe in climate change, Trump is likely to disrupt the critical achievements of the Paris Treaty by pulling out of the agreement. Even Bill O’Reilly thinks this is a bad move! To quote Yvon Chouinard, “If you’ve got a politician that’s running for office who thinks he’s smarter than 98% of the world’s climate scientists, they’re crooks or they’re dumbasses.” (More here.)
- Trump nominated and Congress approved of Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is what protects are rivers, streams, lakes, beaches, bays, and wetlands. Of course, the EPA is also what defends public health against corrupt and destructive industries and practices. It would be difficult to find one other person with more contempt for the EPA. While fracking-caused earthquakes destroyed property in the state, Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times and has little regard for the EPA. The climate change denying Pruitt believes that the EPA’s regulation of fossil fuel companies over mercury poisoning go too far. As Attorney General, it was Pruitt’s job to defend the law and the residents of Oklahoma. Instead, he served fossil fuel and chemical companies, even copying and pasting their language from emails and putting it into lawsuits against environmental protections. Though suing the EPA on behalf of polluters, Pruitt never took legal action against the natural gas companies that have greatly impacted the ecosystems and citizens of Oklahoma. Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than California. (More here.)
We have all seen treasured fisheries decline. We all know how difficult it is to recover an ecosystem that has been impacted by pollution, mining, drilling, or logging. And of course, we are rapidly losing access to rivers and public lands. We might never recover from much of the first two months of the Trump Administration.
While many don’t want fly fishing to be politicized, doing nothing is a political move as well. And with so much under attack, we have no choice.
— Tim Harden