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Trump Plans To Circumvent Environmental Laws

Photo credit: Courtesy of Nimmida Pontecorvo/© THIRTEEN Productions LLC

Yosemite Falls reflecting in the Merced River in the heart of Yosemite Valley. The Merced River is one of three major river systems that feeds California’s Central Valley. Yosemite Valley, Calif.

Conservationists are blasting President Donald Trump’s plan to further weaken the nation’s landmark environmental laws.

The President is expected to sign two key executive orders.

One allows federal agencies to set aside protections, in laws like the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act.

The president says the coronavirus emergency allows him to invoke emergency powers to set aside the laws.

The other order effectively limits the strength of future air pollution controls.

Environmentalists called the measures another attempt to roll back long-standing environmental protections.

RELATED: Coronavirus Has Reduced Air Pollution, But Not The Risk In Some San Diego Communities

“It’s exploiting the situation,” said Brett Hartl of the Center for Biological Diversity. “And this isn’t going to help people. It’s only going to help a few big special interests, the largest polluters in our country.”

Hartl called the moves part of the Trump Administrations' continuing assault on the nation’s environmental protections.

“We could see waivers of every major environmental law for really any project, for any reason. And its just absurd,” Hartl said. “The economic emergency that this country is facing has nothing to do with protecting the environment.”

The future of the measures is tied, in part, to the outcome of the November elections.

Executive orders can be undone if a new administration is in power.

The orders are also expected to be challenged in court.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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