Representative Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, recently submitted H.R. 861, which requests to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency. The implications are much bigger than just domestic natural resources protection.
- Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, the largest US corporation and a world leader in petroleum exploration and extraction, now runs the US State Department.
- Environmental regulation (led by the EPA in the US) is a pesky inconvenience in the natural resources sector (including oil extraction).
- US environmental regulations are vastly more strict than regulations in many other countries where oil extraction occurs.
- US companies are subject to some US regulations even while working abroad.
- Money and jobs influence the current US governmental administration as much as any other.
Here’s the story: the US energy sector is willing to create more jobs for hard-working Americans, if only environmental regulations didn’t make it so expensive to locate, extract, move, and refine petroleum around the world. Furthermore, Mr. Trump and Mr. Tillerson (EPA Director) want to foster job creation and US competitiveness in the rest of the world, any way they can.
Further, consider that Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin are, in very real ways, reviving the Cold War, but Russia is vastly weaker economically now, than any time since the 20th century. While Putin and Russia reel from the recent 60% oil price downturn, now’s an opportune time for big US oil to tie up as many overseas reserves as possible (while oil prices are still cheap but recovering), and further marginalize and neutralize Russia as a global economic and natural resources force.
Similar arguments hold for US and Russian interests in Iran. If you’re over 40, you remember the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iran Hostage Crisis. Mr. Trump does too, and like Russia, Iran is weakened from oil price declines. Most urgently, Iran’s recent missile tests are alarming the US Department of Defense and some of Iran’s neighboring countries. Enabling and advancing US business interests in the region is good for the US, and may weaken a country that has at times been adversarial to the US.
Mr. Trump likes to win, so there’s no downside here, no matter which way the EPA goes…as long as it goes.
Health And Life In The Balance
A more fundamental and important consideration is that health and life on the planet hang in the balance. In the last quarter of the 20th century we began to realize there’s a health tradeoff to unchecked business and industry. We’ve learned that many common chronic and terminal diseases are preventable, caused by environmental pollutants and chemical food additives. A vote away from responsible environmental stewardship is another vote for chronic and terminal illness for one more person on our planet.
7 Things You Can Do
- Influence Policy: Contact your Congress(wo)man, Senator, and the White House, and let him/her know your position on this issue.
- Vote With Your Money: Boycott companies, legislators, Senators, and Presidents whose products, policies, and/or practices offend your pocketbook, ethics, morality, or health.
- Educate yourself and understand the issues.
- Vote For Leaders Who Represent The World You Want.
- Engage: Extend the conversation. Share your thoughts below!
- Take no action.