Since January, President Trump has ordered strict rollbacks of Obama-era environmental regulations. He has voiced his intent to focus on energy development and jobs over environmental regulation. Many of these rules were crafted by Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency under Gina McCarthy. She was EPA Administrator during his second term. They focused on taking strong steps against climate change. McCarthy recently visited Wyoming and gave her reaction to the new administration’s efforts to undo much of what her Agency accomplished.
Can you talk about how you felt when the administration started employing a more systematic rollback of environmental regulations?
“All I will say is that I was surprised that there was no more discretion put towards ‘What do I like, what don’t I like, what should happen, what shouldn’t, what does the law require, what is the science telling us’. Because they so quickly said ‘everything’s going’… so there was not a really thoughtful process.”
“I think there’s always going to be policy swings, different judgments, but this administration is questioning the science itself, in ways that really are, make life very unpredictable.”
“But I think people ought to understand, that you can’t, no matter who you are, you can’t come in and make pronouncements.”
States like Wyoming have a lot of people who aren’t particularly sad to see some of these regulations loosening, leaving more room for economic development. How do you feel about that?
“We did not do anything that should pit the effort to reduce greenhouse gases in any way against the economy because we were following the way that the energy market was working.”
“We have to figure out how to break through the rhetoric and look at the real facts of how you do rules and recognize that you can have, and you must have, both a strong economy and good environmental protections. ”
Like you said, a lot of these efforts will be caught up in court. It’s not necessarily going to be an easy thing to rescind these regulations. I’m wondering if you think these rollbacks will have a long-term impact.
“I don’t they will have long-term impacts. I’m pretty confident we did what we needed to do correctly and if it goes to court, if they don’t do things right, they will lose.”
“Unless there is a flaw, unless we got the science wrong, unless we didn’t follow the law, then the administration needs to articulate a solid reason why government would change its position. And if they cannot do that, they will not be successful.”
While these rollbacks are widely supported by the fossil fuel industry, and many others here in Wyoming, there’s also a lot of folks that I know are concerned. So, what should they do to make sure their concerns are heard?
“The world is not going to end, we have to speak up, we have to be active, we have to be positive.”
“We have to get back to talking with one another and getting back to a good understanding that everybody needs clean air and clean water.”
“Don’t let today divide us, let it bring us together and energize us.
- Check out another story on how the new federal government are affecting old policies: Sage Grouse Deja Vu
- And another story by Leigh Paterson on the Interior Department’s focus on energy development: Oil & Gas Eyes Fringes Of Bears Ears
- Or learn a little bit about the future of uranium in Madelyn Beck’s recent story