Saturday will mark the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. In just 100 days, Trump has passed or proposed several bills that will cut back on environmental regulations. Trump has called global warming a hoax and has vowed to abolish the EPA, so what does this all mean for the environment and West Virginia?
Many of Trumps policies were aimed to repeal the previous policies set up by his predecessor, Barack Obama. President Obama set up policies to regulate coal-mining, fracking, and greenhouse gas emissions. Trump is making it his ultimate goal to repeal these polices. He started by selecting global warming denier, Scott Pruitt.
Since then, the Trump administration has removed any mention of climate change from the White House website, approved controversial pipelines and repealed a law prohibiting coal companies from dumping mining waste in rivers and streams.
However, at the end of the day this all ties in to West Virginia. Donald Trump won the state of West Virginia by gaining almost 68 percent of votes on Election Day. Trump won West Virginia because he promised two things, coal revival and highway jobs.
Coal Country has lost over tens of thousand of jobs over the last few years, and this region believed Trumps rhetoric. He promised to put these people back to work by bringing back the coal industry. In order for these promises to become a reality, Trump will have to cut back on environmental regulations that could have a serious effect on the environment.
When Trump signed his executive order to roll the Clean Water rule, it fulfilled a promise he made to coal country at the cost of the environment. According to an article from Inside Climate, the roll back on the Clean Water rule will leave up to 170 species of fish with the possibility of becoming endangered.
The irony of this whole revival on coal puts West Virginia in a tough spot. Trump can say whatever he wants, but facts are facts, even if he believes other wise. The the U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released a report stating that coal was used to produce less than 30 percent of the United States’ energy. Coal is facing competition from natural gas and renewable energy, and unfortunately for West Virginia coal may never return to the height it once was.
The truth is, in order for coal to make a comeback in these regions, regulations set by the Obama administration will have to be rolled back. In that case, these roll backs would put an effect on the environment in one way or another.