Do you remember the 2010, British Petroleum disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? This is the spill that fouled beaches as far as Florida and ruined Gulf Coast fisheries.
According to a New York Times investigation, those pesky rules enacted to keep that from happening again are among the 78 federal environmental regulations guarding our health and economy that have been, or are being, rolled back. A Harvard analysis has found these rollbacks could lead to at least 80,000 extra deaths per decade and cause respiratory problems for more than one million people. The two main agencies responsible are Trump’s EPA and Dept. of Interior. The New York Times wrote that their rule changes will significantly increase air and water pollution from the energy industry and farm chemicals.
Placing fossil fuel concerns above all, Interior gutted rules on royalty rates for oil and gas leases on federal property, rescinded water pollution regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands, changed the well control and blowout preventer regulations that were tightened after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, greenlighted seismic testing on the Atlantic Coast, (a precursor to offshore oil and gas drilling), accelerated offshore oil auctioning and reduced the royalty rates.
Also to favor drilling, the Trump administration moved to minimize wildlife protections, scrapped the requirement for oil and gas companies to report methane emissions, partially repealed limits on those emissions-and on flaring-and has plans to weaken fuel economy standards.
Although Mercury contamination from electric utilities was reduced by 80% under the Obama regulations, on December 28, 2018, arguing that the current restrictions were too costly for improvements gained, the EPA proposedto allow greater releases of mercury and other air pollutants.
However, scientists have reportedthat the estimated benefits from existing limits should be much higher while the cost of seven yearsofcompliance has been far lower than EPA projections. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, mercury exposure can lower IQ and cause nervous system impairments. Other studies have found a direct connection between cardiovascular disease and mercury pollution.
Meanwhile without vigorous public opposition such environmental damage could continue for at least the next two years
Note: The writer included a link to a most interesting list of the 78 environmental regulations that the Trump administration has eliminated or is in the process of eliminating. It is an impressive list. For a real understanding of what the Trump administration is doing, read the list. You can see it at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/05/climate/trump-environment-rules-reversed.html