First 100 days of Trump administration is disaster for Florida’s environment and our families’ health
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - In his first 100 days, President Trump has taken dozens of actions that threaten clean air, clean water, and treasured places from the Suwannee River to Tampa Bay to the Everglades.
“There is no question, President Trump is a disaster for our environment and public health. His actions will make our air and water dirtier; ensure we experience the worst effects of climate change even more swiftly; and will put Florida’s coastal communities at risk. Bottomline these rollbacks put the health of Florida families at risk,” said Jennifer Rubiello, state director at Environment Florida.
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, plans to dismantle the Clean Power Plan which put the first ever federal limits on global warming pollution from power plants, and ordered the EPA 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. Across Florida, 21 cities and metro areas had unhealthy levels of air pollution with an average of 17 dirty air days during 2015. Increases in particulate matter can cause coughing and throat irritation, asthma and permanent damage to lung tissue, as well as heart attacks and heart failure.
“We used to say climate change was a problem happening somewhere else in the world to somebody else. Unfortunately that’s no longer true. It is here and now and only going to get worse for us here in Florida, around the country and the world if President Trump has his way,” said David Hastings, Professor of Marine Science and Chemistry at Eckerd College.
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, including nearly 2 million Floridians, at risk.
We depend on our rivers, streams and wetlands for fishing, swimming, and boating. Unfortunately, President Trump’s proposed budget severely cuts funding for restoring the Everglades and protecting the health of waters like Tampa Bay.
Our parks, forest, oceans and special places are part of what makes America great. Offshore drilling and fracking risks Florida’ public lands including places like Big Cypress National Preserve. Plans to expand drilling both offshore and on land threaten the water we drink, and risks Florida’s outdoor recreation industry, which generates over $2.5 billion in state and local revenue and 329,000 jobs.
“Some of the biggest benefits of living here in Florida for my family and friends are getting out to the beach or paddling down Florida’s many rivers, like the Hillsborough and the Suwannee,” said Tim Martin, conservation chair with the Suncoast Sierra Club. “The President's environmental policies put these places and many others across the state and the 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. Without a commitment to transitioning to clean and renewable energy, facilities like our national laboratories that focus on research in solar, wind and renewable sources of power are at risk. 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.
“Cities in Florida like St. Petersburg have been a leader in making a commitment to moving towards clean energy,” said Susan Glickman, Florida Director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “It would be a travesty if President Trump’s policies put all of that progress in jeopardy.”
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, as well as eliminating $330 million in Superfund money to cleanup the worst toxic waste sites, including 92 here in Florida. His EPA has also approved use of a pesticide, chlorpyrifos, that their 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, make our air and water dirtier. The vast majority of Americans oppose moving backwards on climate, or selling off our public lands to the highest bidder. Anyway you look at it, these last 100 days have been a disaster for our environment and our families’ health ,” said Rubiello.