Donald Trump on Monday officially pulled the United States out of the disastrous TPP deal, a move that deserves some praise. But what most people didn’t realize was that, while Trump threw us a bone, his administration also put a freeze on all EPA grants and contracts, effectively stopping all water quality testing, hazardous waste disposal, and other vital programs for the time being. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.
Transcript of the above video:
Yesterday, Donald Trump actually did something good for the United States when he signed the paperwork to go ahead and withdraw the United States, or begin the withdraw process of the United States, from the Trans Pacific Partnership. This was a disastrous trade deal that President Obama had been pushing, that Republicans had been pushing, that would have essentially stripped the United States of its own authority to regulate foreign companies operating within the United States. Company’s that pollute the environment, pharmaceutical companies, any one of them would have the right to overturn federal government regulations in favor of the corporation; that’s one of the things that made the TPP so dangerous, in addition to outsourcing countless US jobs. President Trump deserves a heck of a lot of praise for actually pulling us out of this.
He made that promise during the campaign and actually kept it, but just a couple days ago, shortly after taking office, the Trump administration told the Environmental Protection Agency that, guess what, we’re going to freeze your budget. You can no longer give out any grants, hire any contractors for any work related to the EPA. What this means … And there is very little information on this because employees at the EPA have actually been instructed to not discuss it, but from leaked emails obtained by ProPublica, New York Times, Huffington Post has reported on these … Employees in the agency cannot contract anyone to go test water quality throughout the United States. They can’t contract people to clean up toxic, hazardous waste, so it will just sit there or be dumped into the environment by a corporation who currently won’t have to worry about an authority figure at a regulatory agency looking over their shoulder to make sure they are complying with law, because the EPA currently doesn’t have a freaking budget because of the Trump administration.
Now we don’t know for sure, again, if this only applies to new grants and contracts, if it only applies to existing grants and contracts or if it covers everything across the board because, again, they were instructed to not talk about it. On the one hand we have Donald Trump pulling the US out of the TPP and then behind closed doors in an attempt to dismantle the EPA, or make it completely dysfunctional, they freeze their budget for grants and contractors.
In addition to that, the next day after pulling us out of the TPP, Donald Trump says he’s going to sign an executive order to fast-track both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL Pipeline. Keep in mind Donald Trump has not divested from his investments, they are not in a blind trust, and what does Donald Trump own stock in? The company building the Dakota Access Pipeline. If that doesn’t create an impeachable conflict of interest, then I don’t know what does, because he just used the Office of the President to enrich himself. That’s illegal, people.
Yeah, Donald Trump does deserve credit for pulling us out of the TPP and he also deserves our criticism and our anger for helping to destroy the environment, for not even letting us test water quality. The EPA can’t hire people to test water quality when we know, according to reports, that we have thousands of area in the country with higher levels of lead contamination than Flint, Michigan. Speaking of Flint, Michigan, all those contractors, all those grants that were to be given to the city to help clean up their water, that also gets frozen under the EPA. They’ll get the money that Congress allocated for them, but they are not going to get any help from the EPA to clean up the mess that the Republican government in Michigan put in place for them.
Things are bad, okay? It’s good that we’re out of the TPP, but we don’t even need the TPP to destroy this country anymore because we have Donald Trump doing that for us.