President Trump’s choices are constant reminders that his “pro-life” agenda really isn’t. Every week he announces a new set of environmentally destructive proposals, and this past week he proposed weakening standards on two chemicals that significantly affect environmental health.
One is on mercury, long known to be dangerous to human health, especially during pregnancy. Mercury’s emissions leak from coal-fired power plants and though the existing ruling (enacted under Obama) lowers those emissions by 70-plus percent, Mr. Trump is so insistent on pushing “clean coal” that he has proposed dropping the requirement that mercury levels even be monitored.
The other chemical, methane, is known to be 25 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Methane is now being emitted from melting Arctic permafrost that is no longer permanent. Trump’s current proposal addresses methane that is emitted by the intentional flaring from natural gas drilling sites (flames visible from outer space). Trump’s EPA and the Dept. of the Interior, both of which were once tasked with at least some environmental protection, call the current regulations costly and burdensome. The costs to which they refer are short term ones, but the long term costs of dropping these regulations, both for the economy and for our sustainability, are unfathomable. Ironically, our taxpayers’ money is now being spent in court cases that defend Trump’s scorched Earth agenda.
Smoke from uncontrollable wildfires in the West recently drifted over Maine, one more reminder of our tailpipe status, soon to be made worse by Trump’s lifting of vehicle emission requirements. It’s absurd to politicize the need for these basic protections, but since Bruce Poliquin has made the environment a political football, we need to respond accordingly. Here’s why.
Representative Poliquin lists on his website environmental bills he has supported, but his actual overall voting record matches Trump’s agenda by 94 percent and he has earned a mere 17 percent pro-environment voting record according to the League of Conservation Voters. The few pro-environment votes he has cast have almost always been when cards are completely stacked against passage so his vote wouldn’t make a difference. Another Republican, Susan Collins, has a voting record over three times stronger. Poliquin doesn’t have to march in line with this president, but that’s mostly what he’s done, and when constituents have tried to ask him why, Mr. Poliquin is either unavailable or is hiding. We need to send our congressman a pink slip. He says he’s working on our behalf, but he really isn’t.
Voting for Jared Golden sends a message to this president that his war on the environment is unacceptable and that we reject our congressman’s blind allegiance to Mr. Trump’s actions.
Beverly Roxby lives in Belfast