Pursuing a toxic agenda: Environmental injustice in the early Trump administration

Read the full story from the The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative.

Environmental justice (EJ) is at the nexus of many issues and institutions the Trump administration has promised to dismantle—climate science, environmental protections, and industrial regulation. “Pursuing a Toxic Agenda” shows how the Trump administration has already reversed decades of environmental justice work, including hard-won progress under the Obama administration. In this report, we examine how the new administration’s policies, proposed budget cuts, stated priorities, and political appointments will increase toxic burdens on environmentally impacted communities, including communities living near hazardous industrial facilities, and farmworkers at risk of pesticide exposure.

Specifically, EDGI identifies:

  • Increased environmental risks for low-income communities from the Trump administration’s:
  • Support for the Dakota Access Pipeline
  • Reversal of a ban on the agricultural pesticide, chlorpyrifos, which is known to cause developmental damage in children
  • Changes to workplace safety regulations
  • Dismantled environmental protections through:
  • Weakened lead remediation and education programs
  • Reduced funding for toxic cleanups
  • Rollbacks in environmental data collection and access, necessary in struggles for environmental justice, by:
  • Limiting access to toxic emissions data
  • Cuts in funding and staff for toxics research and communication infrastructure

The Trump administration has not only moved to limit publicly available data on environmental contaminants and risks, it also restricted public feedback on rules relating to toxics. Through proposed budget cuts and personnel reductions at agencies like EPA, including the proposed elimination of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, the new administration has crippled the government’s ability to address environmental problems, including inequalities in toxic exposure. Rather—as Hurricane Harvey recently made excruciatingly clear—U.S. environmental agencies and organizations need more resources and support to address the inevitable, and inevitably unequal, effects of climate change and other environmental disasters.

Author: Laura B.

I'm the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center's Sustainability Information Curator, which is a fancy way of saying embedded librarian. I'm also Executive Director of the Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable. When not writing for Environmental News Bits, I'm an avid reader. Visit Laura's Reads to see what I'm currently reading.

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