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Donald Trump has called himself “an environmentalist” despite proposing a 31% cut to the EPA budget, threatening to pull out of the Paris climate accord, and appointing Scott Pruitt as his chief environmental enforcer–a man with a long record of belittling federal protections of water, air, and public health.
Trump has a standard rationale for all this environment-bashing: Regulations stop companies from creating jobs and harm economic growth. He’s said the EPA is “out of control” and described Obama-era rule-making–like one forbidding coal companies from dumping chemicals in rivers–“job killing.”
Meanwhile, Environmentalist Paper No. 3 looks at how climate change is likely is to exacerbate health problems, particularly among vulnerable populations. Rising temperatures increase mortality risk among “the elderly and poor people, residents of urban heat islands, and people with mental illness,” it says, and increase the incidence of diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Looked at this way, environmental protection is like preventative medicine, the authors say.
When we cut back on the environmental protection, we do more than harm lakes, rivers, and atmospheres. We potentially harm ourselves.