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Luke Metzger,
Environment Texas

Trump's first 100 days: A disaster for Texas's environment and our families' health

For Immediate Release:

AUSTIN – In his first 100 days, President Trump has taken dozens of actions that threaten clean air, clean water, and treasured Texas places like Big Bend and Padre Island.

“There’s no question — President Trump is a disaster for our environment and public health,” said Brian Zabcik, the Clean Air & Clean Water Advocate at Environment Texas. “His actions will make our air and water dirtier; ensure we experience the worst effects of climate change even more swiftly; and will expose us to more toxic chemicals. Bottom line, these rollbacks put the health of families at risk.”

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, intends to dismantle the Clean Power Plan (which put the first-ever federal limits on global warming pollution from power plants), and ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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 smog season and harming our families’ health. For example, the number of unhealthy smog days per year in Houston has increased from 101 in 2015 to 107 in 2016. Smog pollution causes health impacts such as coughing and throat irritation, as well as asthma and permanent damage to the lung tissue.

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 at risk — including 11 million Texans. The President has also proposed massive budget cuts for the EPA, including the elimination of $2.8 million in funding for the Gulf of Mexico watershed protection program.

Our parks, forests, and beaches like Big Bend National Park and Padre Island National Seashore are part of what makes America great. But the Trump administration’s budget cuts would threaten these places. The National Park Service has already had to defer more than $86 million in essential maintenance expenses at Big Bend, and another $13 million at Pade Island. The President should be promoting policies to protect our public lands, not shortchange them.

“I know that for my family and friends, getting out to Big Bend or Padre is one of the best things about living in Texas,” Zabcik said. “Trump’s policies put these parks — and many others across our state and nation — at risk.”

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. 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.

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. The administration also proposes to eliminate $330 million in Superfund money to cleanup the worst toxic waste sites, including one on the San Jacinto River in Harris County and 65 other sites in Texas. His EPA has also approved use of a pesticide called chlorpyrifos that the agency’s 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, or to make our air and water dirtier,” said Zabcik “The vast majority of Americans oppose moving backwards on climate, or selling off our public lands to the highest bidder. Any way that you look at it, these last 100 days have been a disaster for our environment and our families’ health.”

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Environment Texas advocates for clean air, clean water, and preservation of Texas’ natural areas on behalf of approximately 5,000 members statewide.