Environmentalists Must Publicly Challenge Congressional Republicans On Trump EPA Budget and Regulatory Policy
NJ Spotlight ran a story today – quoting various “experts” – about the impacts of President Trump’s EPA budget, see:
Tell me something I don’t already know.
Aside from the lack of relevance and edge to the story (and grave omissions, like proposing to eliminate the Chemical Safety Board), the usual suspects took the usual cowardly path. Let me explain.
The Trump budget proposal is essentially just red meat for the base. It is written like a press release or campaign statement.
In numerous national press stories since the Trump budget was released, it has been described as “DOA” on a bi-partisan basis by members of Congress.
So, the story now migrates to how Congress – particularly Republicans in the House – will react.
Environmental group leaders obviously know this and know that they need to be pressuring NJ Republicans to publicly speak out against the Trump budget and regulatory policies, which amount to an across the board attack on EPA as an institution and would dismantle science and critical protections for public health and the environment.
So, are these groups asking NJ Republican Congresspersons to speak out against Trump cuts?
Republicans like Lance, Frelinghuysen, MacArthur, LoBiondo, Smith must speak out publicly to defend environmental protections (regulations, enforcement) and EPA as an institution (science, staffing, and budget).
Maybe Rodney can do a dog and pony at Superfund sites and talk about Trump cuts? Where is “coastal champion” Lobiondo? What about the “devolution” of Lance? How about Chris Smith, who thinks he “scored big”?
Environmentalists have to publicly pressure the Republicans in Congress. If they fail, they are cowards.
The criticism can’t be limited to budget issues, and must focus on the Trump regulatory policy and ideological commitment to “federalism” and “states rights”.
States can NOT assume EPA national responsibilities. They lack resources and are under undue influence of economic and political pressure by polluting industries.
My Congressman, MacArthur, just refused to oppose them and refused to take any public position until it’s time to vote on the House floor on the full budget.
Here’s how my CongressmanTom MacArthur responded in a letter today to that kind of pressure from me, acting as a constituent, without the big Foundation Funded megaphone and resources that the environmental groups have. I wrote MacArthur and demanded that he speak out publicly against the Trump attack – so note the cowardice (in bold, which defects and dodges the issue: (MacArthur wrote)
As you may know, I will not have the opportunity to vote on this legislation until it is approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and the full Appropriations Committee. Please know that I will certainly take your views into consideration should such legislation come to a vote before the House of Representatives.
In addition to NJ environmental groups failing to put this kind of pressure on NJ Congressional Republicans, there are additional hypocrisies that arise.
Where were all these groups when NJ Gov. Christie was doing virtutally the same thing as Trump, on both the budget and regulatory policy side?
Did NRDC or NJ Audubon or the Delaware Watershed Wm Penn Foundation grantees do ANY work on Barnegat Bay (as Christie DEP abdicated CWA TMDL requirements) or the Delaware River and Bay TMDL?
Or on DEP issued NJPDES permits for new treatment plants on lower Delaware tributary Crosswicks Creek? Or when Gov. Christie’s regulatory freeze killed DEP climate emissions inventory and Global Warming Response Act programs? (aside from RGGI, which NRDC did work on). Or DEP’s abdication of the NY Harbor TMDL or floatables plan? Or climate adaptation? Or numerous clean water regulatory rollbacks? I could go on.
The Obama EPA they consistently supported was no bowl of cherries either.
In a related matter, Trump’s Executive Order regulatory freeze ends tomorrow.
Will NJ Spotlight and all these groups focus on that?
BTW, in a huge irony, it was NRDC litigation that gave us the “Chevron” doctrine on agency deference.
That legal issue is paramount in today’s US Senate Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court candidate Gorsuch.
Where are these well endowed groups on THAT?