Op Ed

Trump Waging War Against the Outdoors

Attacking national parks, weakening pollution rules, the list is long.

By - Jan 21st, 2018 09:42 pm
Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

Donald Trump. Photo from whitehouse.gov.

It’s been 48 years since the first Earth Day and one year since Donald Trump became president. 2017 has been the worst year for environmental protection since that first Earth Day. The Trump administration has waged a ceaseless war on our outdoors, eviscerating our system of environmental protection, severely weakening safeguards for our air, land and water and undercutting efforts to address the climate crisis.

Trump’s tweets, feuds and name-calling have diverted public attention from the war on our outdoors, but his administration is systematically dismantling our system of conservation and handing our public lands, our waters, and our air over to polluters and the fossil fuel industry.

When Trump was elected, an oil industry lobbyist said: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” Unfortunately, the gifts to fossil fuel corporations keep coming and coming at great expense to our environment.

The Trump administration is weakening dozens of safeguards for our natural resources, many at the request of the dirty-fuel lobby. Trump is allowing coal companies to dump mining waste, much of it toxic, into rivers and streams. He seeks to rescind water pollution regulations for fracking on federal lands, allow oil and gas drilling in national parks, and weaken safety regulations on offshore drilling that were adopted in the wake of the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Now Trump plans to allow oil and gas drilling along virtually the entire American coastline and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one the most pristine wildernesses.

Trump is also attacking our national parks and monuments, undercutting the Teddy Roosevelt law that has protected some of our most special places, including the Grand Canyon, the Olympics, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Grand Teton. As part of his attack on our natural heritage, he reduced Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent and cut Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument in half.

Our waters are also victims of Trump’s war on our outdoors. He’s trying to kill protections for tens of millions of acres of wetlands, weaken controls on the discharge of toxic chemicals from power plants into public waters, and limit rules regulating the dumping of harmful coal ash waste near waterways.

The Trump administration is aggressively fighting efforts to address the climate crisis. He’s withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, making us the only nation in the world to not sign on to the effort to combat global warming. His administration is rolling back initiatives to reduce climate pollution by repealing the Clean Power Plan and threatening fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks, emissions standards for coal power plants and methane emissions controls at oil- and gas-drilling sites.

Most dangerous, Trump is trying to destroy the agency that protects our environment and the science that supports pollution controls. His appointee as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, was one of the most aggressive opponents of clean air and water rules administered by EPA when he was Oklahoma attorney general, actually suing the agency 14 times trying to kill safeguards on toxins and other pollutants. Pruitt’s top deputies include a coal-industry lobbyist and an oil-industry lobbyist. Trump’s budget would decimate funding for the agency, the largest cut for any federal agency. Meanwhile, EPA scientists are being fired. In May, the contracts of most members of the Board of Scientific Counselors, which advises the agency on internal research, were canceled, and scientists on the agency’s advisory committees have been replaced with industry lobbyists.

Poll after poll shows the public strongly supports environmental protection. Democrats should make Trump’s war on our outdoors a major campaign issue in the upcoming elections.

This column was originally published by Madison’s Cap Times.

Spencer Black represented the 77th Assembly District for 26 years and was chair of the Natural Resources Committee. He currently serves as the vice president of the national Sierra Club and is an adjunct professor of urban and regional planning at UW-Madison.

Categories: Environment, Politics

15 thoughts on “Op Ed: Trump Waging War Against the Outdoors”

  1. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    More BS from the Left. Trump likes people, Black and the nutty Madison people do not like anyone walking on the grass. They want to depopulate the country, world. If they could poison every other person they would be happy. Conservatives like people.

  2. John Casper says:

    “More BS from” the guy hiding behind his handle, who isn’t a conservative.

  3. Terry says:

    Republicans hate nature.

  4. PMD says:

    WCD Today: “Conservatives like people.”

    Three Days Ago: “Carl Higbie, appointed by President Donald Trump to direct external affairs for the federal government’s volunteer service organizations, resigned from his post on Thursday after a number of racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ, and other offensive statements made in the last five years were brought to public attention.

    In resigning from his position with the CNCS, Higbie joins a growing group of Trump appointees to resign after racist comments or posts were revealed to the public.”

    Sure conservatives like people. Rich, straight, white people.

  5. Old Man Yells at Cloud says:

    Nobody loves people like Trump! He loves ALL people like just like Jesus! There is NO proof that he has EVER done anything ill-willed towards another in his life! Praise be to Trump!

    Does that sound stupid to anyone else?

  6. John Casper says:


    Thank you.

    Well played.

    WI Con Digest: Economists call breathable air, drinkable water, “natural capital.” There is no economy without them. They are the cornerstones of national security–a higher priority than soldiers, uniforms, guns, ammo,….

    The root of “conservative” is “conserve.”

    Former Gov. Tommy Thompson is wrong about nuclear, but even he is on the sustainable energy bandwagon.


  7. John Casper says:



    After reading about Stormy spanking him in 2006, rumors about the “pee-tape” seem even more reliable.

    According to Stormy, theDonald didn’t use protection. Wonder how many abortions he paid for?

  8. Terry says:

    Meanwhile, Draft Dodger Trump rants about what our military needs during the Trump Shutdown.
    Leave it to the draft dodging chicken hawk who got 5 deferments for flat feet to lecture actual heroes like Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Not buying it Trump!
    Not buying your lies Republicans!!


  9. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    The Lefties here are hilarious. They Iive in the worst run city in the country with huge problems, lousy roads that destroy our cars, dump billions gallons of sewage into Lake, and they go on nothings like this. Never solve any of the problems

  10. John Casper says:

    “The” wingnuts “here are hilarious,” all they do is play the victim card.

    “They” want $4 billion in welfare for Foxconn and then complain that MKE is “the worst run city in the country with huge problems, lousy roads that destroy our cars….” Walker has been Governor since 2010. Republicans control all three branches of government, but it’s not their fault.

    They complain about MMSD–run by a French corporation–Veolia http://www.veoliawatermilwaukee.com/home/ –dumping “billions gallons of sewage into the” Great Lakes that can’t support commercial fishing, because they are overrun by invasive species–like quagga mussels–that the GOP let in. Wingnuts “never solve any of the problems.”

  11. Terry says:

    100% correct John Casper!

    100% incorrect WI Con Indigestion!


  12. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    They gave far more money to cities than Doyle did, but they spent it on trolleys, Bucks and getting reelected.

  13. Terry says:

    @WI Con Indigestion, Newsflash! Doyle isn’t Governor anymore! It’s been almost a decade since he was Governor. Meanwhile career politician Scott Walker and republicans got drunk on power and drove the state into the ditch.

  14. Steven Hodges says:

    Excuse me WCD, I hope you can read this but more importantly understand it!
    Scott Walker approves spending $250 million on Milwaukee Bucks arena.

  15. John Casper says:

    WIConDigest, what foreign corporation did Doyle give $4 billion too?

    How long has Gov. Walker been governor?

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