Photo: Gage Skidmore
Last week, America watched the biggest names in the Republican party celebrate the nomination of Donald Trump for President of the United States. But the Republican National Convention wasn’t just a Who’s Who of conservative celebrities, it was also a showcase for some of the nation’s biggest environmental bad actors. Check them out below:
1) Donald Jr. and Eric Trump Killed Endangered Animals
Both of Donald Trump’s sons have been photographed with myriad endangered animals – – including leopard, elephant and crocodile – they killed while hunting in Zimbabwe.
“I think what made it sort of a bigger story and kind of national and even global news was that I didn’t do what a lot of other people do, which is immediately start apologizing for what I am and that I’m a hunter,” said Donald Jr. in response to outrage around his war on wildlife. “I am what I am. I did all those things. I have no regrets about it.”
2) Newt Gingrich Dismantled Corporate Polluter Tax
While Gingrich served as the Speaker of the House in the mid- to late 1990s, Congress dismantled the “polluter pays fee” in the Superfund Act.
The Act, established in 1980, was instated to restore environmental wastelands when there was no direct evidence pointing to a specific polluter. Superfund used to require companies known for leaking hazardous chemicals into the environment – like chemical and petroleum corporations – to pay a “polluter tax”; however, Gingrich and his cronies let them off the hook.
3) Chris Christie Stopped New Jersey’s Carbon Market
In 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie withdrew his state from America’s first carbon market, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).
“This program is not effective in reducing greenhouse gases and is unlikely to be in the future,” said the Governor. “The whole system is not working as it was intended to work. It’s a failure.”
In 2015, the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) reported on the initiative’s success in other states: “Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont – have reduced carbon pollution by one-third, while saving consumers $1.5 billion on their utility bills, creating over 22,000 additional jobs, and bringing $2.9 billion in additional economic benefit to the region since it began in 2008.”
It appears that Christie’s poor judgment, not the RGGI, is what’s failing the environment and the state’s taxpayers.
4) Mike Pence Rolled Back Clean Energy Policy
Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has a long history of supporting fossil fuel interests and promoting an anti-climate action agenda. In addition to joining a collective lawsuit to abolish the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which regulates power plant emissions, Pence actively opposes renewable energy programs and halted Indiana’s energy efficiency initiatives.
There’s no question about where the vice president elect – who received over $300,000 from the Koch brothers during his campaign for Governor in 2012 – stands on climate and energy policy.
“Indiana is a pro-coal state,” said Pence in his 2015 State of the State address. “[W]e must continue to oppose the overreaching schemes of the EPA until we bring their war on coal to end.”
5) Donald Trump Promotes Climate Denialism and Threatens Decades of Environmental Policy
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” the GOP’s presidential nominee tweeted in 2012.
In accordance with his blatant disregard for climate science, the Donald has vowed to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, deconstruct the EPA, revitalize the coal industry and approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Even more disturbing, Trump’s anti-environmental agenda is right in line with the Republican Platform, which represents the party’s future plans to undermine the environmental gains of President Obama and disregard the climate actions of the United Nations.