Following January’s highly-publicized memoranda approving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines, in February three pieces of environmental legislation quietly moved through Congress to Trump’s desk. On February 3rd, the House passed H.J. Res. 36 to reverse the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rule “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation” and sent the resolution to the Senate. The threatened BLM rule targets the reduction of methane emissions, which are at least 25 times more potent than CO2 emissions as a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. On February 14th President Trump signed into law H.J.Res.41, which canceled an SEC regulation that required oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments. The intent of the SEC regulation was to prevent bribery, embezzlement, and the exploitative extraction of natural resources by government officials and oligarchs at the expense of a country’s citizens. On February 16th, President Trump signed legislation ending the Stream Protection Rule, which protected waterways from coal-mining waste.
This week we donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit that works to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. The NRDC utilizes scientific research, litigation, advocacy, community partnerships and business innovation to realize progress in program areas such as energy, climate change, oceans, and food. Recent NRDC victories include receiving commitments from Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Subway to eliminate antibiotics from their meats; achieving ivory bans; forcing the chemical company Mallinckrodt to clean up the tons of toxic mercury they dumped into Maine’s Penobscot River; securing millions of acres of protected habitats; negotiating the designation of Atlantic coastal waters off-limits to drilling; and brokering climate commitments at COP21 in Paris.
We are passionate believers in the importance of protecting the environment. This is our one and only planet Earth, and we humans are steadily and recklessly depleting its resources — and then ignoring and denying the obvious impacts of our behavior. We humans are just one species that calls Earth home, and yet we are disrupting the homes of countless other species and destroying the delicate balance of nature’s ecosystems that existed long before we came onto the scene. We believe that protecting our environment is the biggest and most pressing issue for our children and future generations. Human structures and powers and problems come and go, but our planet is permanent. This is one thing we can’t fix or get back. Given the actions of the current administration, our Earth needs us to be its voice and to fight for its health more now than ever before.