Opinion: Can our environment survive this administration?


By Kyler Jackson and Caleb Snider

If you live in reality and recognize the threat of climate change and don’t believe it to be a hoax created by the Chinese like our president does, then the past week has been nothing but awful news.

To start off, the new secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, on March 9 on CNBC stated that carbon dioxide is not a “primary contributor to the global warming we see.”

Someone should probably tell Pruitt that the official government website for the EPA lists carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. You know, the gases that trap heat in our atmosphere?

Even more bad news came with the confirmation of Ryan Zinke as secretary of the Interior Department. The good news is that he doesn’t think climate change is a Chinese hoax. The awful part is that Zinke wants to expand oil and coal production, opposes regulating CO2 and has a 4 percent lifetime approval rating by the League of Conservation Voters. Now we get to hope that our national parks and other protected lands don’t get sold off for drilling purposes.

Then, in an astonishing series of events, the former head of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice program, Mustafa Ali, resigned this week in protest against the Trump administration’s proposal to severely slash the budget of his office and others like it within the EPA. This program was set in order to help protect poor rural and urban communities from being poisoned or taken advantage of by the fossil fuel industry. But that’s just pesky government interference in the market.

To top it all off, on Thursday Reuters reported on a proposal by the Trump administration to cut the EPA’s budget by 31 percent, eliminating roughly 3,200 employees, many climate change programs and “trim initiatives to protect air and water quality.”

So, it’s been a pretty rough week to say the least. But hey, if the Trump administration’s plans for the environment and energy production are as great as the Republican health care plan, I’m sure we’ll all be fine.

Kyler Jackson is a sophomore in political science and Caleb Snider is a sophomore in public relations. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.