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Trump's Bleak Environmental LegacyRoger Gonzo Bütow, Salem-News.com
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." - Friedrich Nietzsche
(LAGUNA BEACH, Calif.) - The 2016 general election booths across America should have boldly carried a caveat, a prominent disclaimer banner:
"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
Sound or look familiar? It’s the infamous quote, the one that Dante envisioned would be inscribed over the Gates Of Hell.
Which in Gonzo’s opinion is where we as a country stand today: On the verge, on the precipice of a nightmare that we’ll never awaken from, all due to Crazee Uncle Donnie, he of the absurdly vain combover, aka Bozo the POTUS Clown and his merry band of greedy sycophants these nearly 4 years have taken us.
The Trumpsters weren’t surreptitious, they loudly signaled, telegraphed their true intentions during the 2016 election runup: They were both eager and willing to sell our heritage outright, not just mortgage but potentially bankrupt the present and future of our natural resources.
Profit to them being more important than our native habitats, their first move was to significantly cut funding to federal protection agencies, gut out or in plain sight roll back our unique air, land and water quality oversight regulations.
Money to Trumpsters being more precious than our geographical abode, our unique North American environs, the legacy we should be leaving to subsequent generations:
As Bob Dylan sang, “Everything Is Broken.” And to pile on, not everything that’s broken CAN be fixed (R.I.P. Tom Petty). Everyone by now that hasn’t been sleeping under a rock (Hint: Slimy hunchback toady Rudy Giuliani lives there) knows of the auctions, long-term leases and sales, and the out-of-control issuance of logging, mining, land access or other types of rights and entitlements.
These are, like the 15% above water portions of icebergs that MSM have publicized, the obvious, the most visible impacts. It’s the 85% out of the general public’s view that’ll be decisive.
Yes, it is possible that Biden can reverse, vacate or rescind a lot of these contractual agreements and policy guidelines, but look for millions and millions of dollars to be spent warding off those corporations wishing compensation: Which after the gouging attorney, lobbyist and consultant fees on both sides are finished with contestations, will balloon negotiated settlements into stratospheric amounts, losers taking hefty go away funds.
No, one of the more insidious, quiet killers are the byproducts from withholding enforcement sustenance. The feds receive a lot of each state’s ducats, then dole it back out to them regarding federal act enforcement activities: The Clean Air, Endangered Species and Clean Water Acts come to mind immediately.
Now add a truly alarming aspect of Trump’s Algorithm: The appointments of well over 200 judges (total 792 active in the USA), now approaching 1/3 of all such seats. He promised 300 by the end of his first term. Look for him, now in the death throes of his floundering, vindictive and vengeful lame duck status, to try and meet or, if possible, surpass that goal.
Another instance of dick-measuring: Obama appointment rate was 39% (244) ...So look for those tiny hands to sign with his scribble Sharpy, to surpass that before they drag this bloated, whiny bag of methane gas whimpering out the front door of the White House.
Trump’s seditious cronies lobbied him (plus stuffed his campaign AND family coffers) to not only move the regulatory needles, to tilt acquisitions their way, shelter them from blowback, but do so without recrimination, without repercussions or accountability.
Federal judges often settle pro and anti-development disputes that are heavily laden with environmental consequences as the ultimate dispositive body. Having packed the SCOTUS with more ass kissers like Kavanaugh, any anti-degradation cases heard there are in actuality already DOA.
Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field... From a cold steel rail?
Hot ashes for trees... Hot air for a cool breeze?”
Wish You Were Here --Pink Floyd
Do you remember those early outside lighting and irrigation controller systems? Actual ticking clocks not all digital as today? The ones that warned you NOT to turn the timer system wheel backwards (counter-clockwise), only forwards? That was due to their internal mechanisms, gears that only allowed uni-directional adjustments. Manually forcing them counter-clockwise stripped those gears, making the brain useless.
The myth many perpetuate (either in ignorance or as outright lies as fellow Trumpsters promulgate) is that significant adverse impacts CAN be reversed or left nil (mitigated to achieve no negative effects) afterwards.
Having become a nation that heavily bought into the “everything can be managed” mentality, that concept isn’t necessarily true regarding our native ecologies.
In the late 60s and early 70s, most of the pertinent federal acts (several named above) were made law because both political parties realized the distress and devastation of our country’s environs was increasing at an alarming rate.
That flaming left wing liberal, President Richard Nixon signed them. As I’ve challenged S-N.com readers previously, if you don’t like these decrees? Go out and disinter Trick Dicky’s body, get him to expunge his signature, k?
The attendant acts were intended to slow and eventually halt the acknowledged severe entropy, then attempt to reverse the catastrophe-in-progress, facilitate future conservation, i.e., restoration, preservation and protection of our finite resources.
The master strategy included funding: It was agreed that states would recoup gross amounts of federal taxes from Washington to help underwrite enforcement implementation programs and management plans within their respective region.
One of Trump’s first acts was stealthy, quietly initiated, directing those agencies related to the federal acts to start cutting back on those state funding enforcement bucks. I call it the “$$$ Hose,” as in Trump’s traitorous, treasonous flunkies turning the flow valve gradually off until down to a dribble.
Imagine driving and having no police to write tickets to scofflaws, those that run red lights and endanger others. No cops = Anarchy.
Check around in your state, talk off the record with an agency rep about the current administration. Anywhere from ¼ to 1/3 personnel layoffs, most alarming are subsequent budget and staff reductions in the field and violation investigation divisions regarding complaints:
Basically, gutting out oversight and the federally mandated compliance. Polluters and eco-destroyers have been operating without any policing, with impunity these past 4 years.
Yes, states have been granted the power to pass more but not less stringent or restrictive enviro-acts themselves. But keep in mind that they can no longer rely upon the federal enforcement funding returning, reimbursement to assist their budgeting...so states have been reducing the staffs in the related departments. Unlike corporate downsizing, it’s the ultimate slippery slope.
This double whammy has also resulted in such a horrendous backlog of open cases, cases that have little or no funding to pursue resolution, that quote about “Abandon All Hope” becomes a verité. The enforcement cue gets longer and longer without respite or relief, thus the environment continues its deathly downward spiral.
By the time Biden’s crew can re-fund, many of the adverse impacts will be permanent, our natural resources and habitats no longer candidates for healing let alone entropy reversal.
Federal Judge Appointments
Trump appointees aren’t just any Republicans. They are pro-development, de-regulation types. Environmentally tone deaf. Pre-disposed, their biases will affect the decisions they make. They might as well be land, water and air rapist facilitators, defacto enablers, avaricious hoarders, conscienceless corporate board members focused on acquisitions not stewardship.
As for all of those in Congress and the White House wringing their respective hands back when, those sharply worded deliberative concerns and resulting prescriptions embedded in the federal acts from 50 years ago? What would they think today, that a president who should continue to carry the conservation torch is instead burning the compliance barn down to ashes?
He hasn’t just destroyed confidence in our form of governance, he’s stripped that mechanical timer and turned our ecological clock back to where we started.
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” — Aldous Huxley
These judgeships are lifetime appointments, and Trump has heavily leaned towards younger choices. Translation: Kangaroo courtrooms indefinitely. They’ll be part of the problem, affect compliance and enforcement challenges by agencies and the allowed 3 rd party litigation for decades. This is a classic “thumb on the scale” maneuver.
Like the Devil and Daniel Webster or Faust, Trump’s ecologically challenged cronies have intentionally exchanged the safe, healthy and viable environs of America (our soul) for that most crass of all reasons, for Ka-Ching. This is what I was alluding to when I used mortgage or bankrupt, these judge appointments will compound the hurdles exponentially so that we’ll never acquire a return to sane safeguards and guard rails, compelling proper federal and state enviro-compliance outcomes.
For every feel-good project you have in your community, I’ll bet there’s 5-10 times as many that will never happen, be delayed so long as to be irrelevant, be flaccid and ineffectual or just plain old “too little too late.”
While these enhancing or improvement projects get a lot of warm and fuzzy ink, it’s more akin to using a child’s bucket to bail, to stop a moderately sized leaky boat from sinking.
“There’s no independence in the world...just dependence. Our animals are dying and the sky stained like a sore. Now everything has a price tag on it.” T.C. Boyle
Depressed by these revelations, the specter of a dystopic future? You should be. Why over 73 million imbeciles voted for a man whose agenda has been to undermine and erode the power the related acts granted, subvert the authority of a 50-year, well-established and bi-partisan supported resource remediation commitment is a form of sabotage. This isn’t what patriotism looks like, in a sense it’s treasonous.
So all of you buggers who wave your little Qanon flags around, wear your MAGA hats to the breakfast table, take a bow you reality TV suckers: You just sold out America for your successors, those ensuing men, women and your own children who will be vexed subsequently. They’ll be asking themselves WTF, how could we as a nation let that happen?
It’s no small irony that the party who gave us the first real conservationist, President Teddy Roosevelt, coughed up a day glow, neon orange hairball like Trump. Praying, hoping, being optimistic can’t cure or halt the denouement of a hazardous eco-virus, a disease named Trump—2016, that put us in the enviro-hurt locker.
Prognosis: The forecast today, tomorrow and god knows how many more years calls for suspicion, vigilance and unfortunately eco-pain. Personally, Gonzo believes that we’re just riding shotgun down the Trump avalanche. Res ipsa loquitur (This negligence speaks for itself).
Until it hits bottom, the dust settles, metaphorically we’ll be struggling just to tread water, not backslide any further. Often major political campaigns feature the phrase “Are you better off today than 4 years ago?”
Well, shoot the messenger, we are not.
We’re in an even deeper hole, one that we’ll be hard pressed to dig out of after 4 years of gutting out watchdog regulations. The only ray of hope comes from a simple fact: At least the dominant majority of American voters didn’t give him 4 more.
_________________________________________Roger E. Bütow is a South Orange County CA based enviro-journalist, living the past 48 years in Laguna Beach. As he drew down his general contracting business of over several decade’s duration in the early 2000s, he began his transition into that of a construction consultant and regulatory advisory role.
Roger leases a small footprint cottage in lower Victoria Beach, and for the past 2+ years has shared the road with a wild cat who adopted him, Kutie, aka Killer. This cat is a stoned cold hunter due to being feral for several years, so don’t let that charming exterior demeanor fool you.
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