Trump and the environment
despite the speculation, no one truly knows what to expect under a Trump presidency. He’s contradicted himself on so many issues it’s dizzying.But one thing that’s become clear is that he is profoundly influenced by those around him. So let’s look at his team. Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, as an influential advisor on energy policy; climate denier Scott Pruitt for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator (an attorney best known for leading the effort to sue the EPA); and literally dozens of outspoken climate change deniers.¹
Perhaps the most troubling of all: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.
No matter who he chooses, it’s clear that the political influence of the fossil fuel industry could be unprecedented.
UCS is ready to fight back, no matter what comes next. We’re independently funded by individuals like you, we’ve got decades of experience pushing for science-based solutions, and we won’t be intimidated by political threats.
Help the Union of Concerned Scientists defend science, whatever this administration brings. Renew your support with a tax-deductible gift of $5 or more before 12/31.
Erratic as he is, Trump wouldn’t be the first president to threaten science.
After George W. Bush was elected, we started hearing from government scientists whose work was being suppressed, manipulated, or misused by politicians—including when the Bush administration “rewrote” government climate research papers (an effort led by Myron Ebell, who—surprise!—resurfaced as one of Trump’s key transition advisors on the EPA).²
We immediately founded a new initiative, the UCS Scientific Integrity program, and publicized more than 100 cases of politically-motivated interference with government science in five years. In addition, we organized more than 15,000 scientists, including 62 Nobel laureates, calling for an end to Bush’s misrepresentation and suppression of scientific knowledge for political purposes.³
We were able to create political pressure that led to a permanent declaration on scientific integrity from the Obama Administration, covering more than 23 federal agencies.
What challenges will a Trump administration pose for science and scientists? Will he start out of the gate with censorship of research? Direct harassment of scientists? Rollbacks on safeguards like the Clean Air Act and fuel economy rules?
We don’t know. All we know is that we stand ready on the first day of the Trump administration—in less than a month—to defend researchers, champion hard-won science-based policies, continue progress in the states, and safeguard our health and the environment.
In fact, we have already started. We just sent a letter to the Trump transition team, signed by over 4,500 scientists, including 22 Nobel laureates, setting for the standards of scientific integrity that we expect from a new administration, with this underlying message: we are watching, and will hold accountable, those that don’t abide by these standards.