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Making America great again — one disaster at a time

March 18, 2018 GMT

The following are just some of the changes President Trump has made or is proposing to make in America:

* Elimination of the Clean Power Plan;

* Eliminated monitoring requirements for oil and gas companies;

* Cut pollution enforcement by 24 percent;

* Eliminated clean energy initiatives;

* Eliminated satellites that monitor the earth’s climate;

* Reduced EPA’s authority to control the amount of lead in paint;

* Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement;

* Repealed the anti-corruption law for oil and gas companies;

* Modified the stream protection rule so that mining companies can dump their waste in streams;

* Modified the Clean Water Act to eliminate many waters from any protection;

* Planning to eliminate fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks;

* Allows coal mining on most public lands;

* Put a climate change denier at the head the Environmental Protection Agency;

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* Cut out over $100 million from Climate Research;

* Allows use of chlorpyrifos, a dangerous pesticide in food and water;

* Allows power plants to dump waste such as mercury and arsenic;

* Proposes to eliminate methane capture at landfills;

* Proposes to eliminate the clean water rule entirely;

* Removed the requirement of advanced braking systems on trains carrying flammable liquids

* Allow coal companies to dump mining debris in streams;

* Eliminated third party projects such as Volkswagen having to pay $2.7 billion when they got caught cheating on emission standards;

* Allow oil and gas drilling on most off-shore waters;

* Allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge;

* Proposed reduction of the Land and Water Conservation Fund by 84 percent, the result of which is a tax cut for off-shore oil and gas development;

* Eliminated a rule that helped protect Native Alaskan Communities from oil and gas development near their homes;

* Eliminated the requirement for oil, gas and coal companies to pay royalties on Federal and Indian lands;

* Eliminated funding to help developing nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

* Removed the requirement that federal agencies have to mitigate the environmental impacts of projects they approve;

* Allow companies involved in electroplating to dump their waste;

* Removed the requirement that mining companies prove they have enough money to clean up any mess they leave behind;

* Allows sewage treatment plants to pollute the air with formaldehyde, toluene and tetrachloroethylene;

* Removed water pollution regulations for “fracking” on Federal and Indian lands;

* Removed requirement that oil and gas companies protect migrating birds from landing in their toxic waste pits;

* Proposing reduced protection of sage grouse habitat on federal lands;

* Proposing reduced regulation of coal ash waste from power plants;

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* Cut Human Health Risk Assessment by 40 percent;

* Cut Department of Energy Studies on Renewable Energy by 40 percent;

* Gave an extra $281 million to the Fossil Fuel Industry for Research and Development;

* Cutting out all references to Climate Change in Federal Agencies; and

* Eliminated building standards in flood zones.

He’s actually done more. These are just some of the highlights.

I have to admit that some federal regulations can be time consuming and cumbersome to manage. But rather than improving them, and giving local communities and state agencies a cooperative voice in setting regulations, Trump simply eliminates the rules. There are about 1,500 oil, gas and coal companies in America that will primarily benefit from eliminating these rules.

There are about 120 million households or individuals that pay federal income tax. Basically Trump is helping 1,500 fossil fuel companies and hurting 120 million households who will someday end up paying to clean up the pollution from these rule changes. Plus thousands of people will die because of the additional pollution these changes will allow.

Once carbon dioxide gets in the atmosphere, it will stay there for thousands of years, and the world’s climate will become increasingly unstable and hotter. Members of the House and Senate, for the most part, have either kept quiet or have even signed on to allow these rule changes. Think about that when you go to the voting booth next time.

While the rest of the world is moving towards renewable energy and doing things to reduce their greenhouse gas production, Trump is doing everything he can to increase pollution in the air and water. He seems to think the role of government is to help the fossil fuel industry make the most possible money in the least amount of time.

But then all he’s ever done in life is focus on making money, by whatever means necessary. He has no idea of how to take care of people, or the environment they live in. Instead of “draining the swamp” he’s polluting the swamp, the rivers of America and the atmosphere. His legacy will be an economic and ecological disaster.

Mike Larkin of Pocatello has worked in natural resource management for over 30 years and has degrees from Utah State University and the University of Idaho.