Oklahoma may not be the most environmentally friendly state, Scott Pruitt was our Attorney General before President Trump appointed him head of the EPA. But in the past, federal regulations have been a saving grace for Oklahoma. While Scott Pruitt often fought against these environmental regulations, he kept losing, which was a win for Oklahoma families.
With Pruitt overseeing the EPA, environmental regulations have already been stripped away. This makes Oklahoma more vulnerable than ever. President Trump even talked about the possibly of abolishing the EPA, saying, “We’ll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can’t destroy businesses.” Of course, we don’t want to destroy businesses, but what about our health? Lost work to repertory illnesses like asthma, and shorter life spans, are awful for business.
Now Oklahoma faces new problems, as some of our top environmental issues are exasperated…
When I go outside now, I usually smell smoke. This is personal for me because my father is a volunteer firefighter. He recently responded to a fire almost two hours away. Normally, my dad doesn’t fight fires so far away, but state resources were so low due to so many wildfires burning around the state. The fire burned about a square mile, injuring two people and destroying nine homes.
Droughts and wildfires are common in Oklahoma, and both are breaking records. This is a fierce reminder of how climate change wrecks havoc, and will continue to do so in Oklahoma, as a record 900,000 acres have burned in Oklahoma already this year. Buildings have been destroyed, seven people have been killed, and hundreds of cattle, a big industry for the state, have been killed.
The Trump administration’s cuts are also felt in the area of wildfires emergency aid. The Department of Agriculture is cutting 21% of emergency aid under Trump’s proposed budget. This would likely mean a lot less aid to farmers and ranchers who already are impacted by the wildfires.
Record warm temperatures and lack of rain fuel fires and climate change impacts these factors.
Fracking and Earthquakes
The oil and gas industry is linked to one of the bigger environmental issues in the state. We’ve had record increases in earthquakes. The quakes are linked to disposal wells used by the industry.
Finally, after denying the link for years, some oil and gas companies are making an effort to slow the quakes by shutting down some wells. However, scientists have said the quakes will likely continue and increase in magnitude.
With Trump favoring industry’s financial concerns over the health of Americans, I worry Oklahoma’s earthquakes will get even worse. The administration is already rolling back the rule requiring companies to disclose the chemicals used in drilling on federal lands, which makes it hard to even know what your family is breathing or ingesting. Trump says he will continue to lift environmental regulations.
The homes in Oklahoma are not built to withstand earthquakes. How can Oklahoma residents feel safe?
The Keystone XL pipeline is back in the news after the Trump administration approved the northern leg. While the southern leg was built years ago and is already running in Oklahoma, the northern leg will also impact the state.
In a press statement, Oklahoma’s U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe praised Pres. Trump for this approval. Sen. Inhofe claimed it would bring thousands of jobs to Oklahoma. He offered no proof of this. Since the pipeline is already built in Oklahoma, it’s hard to figure out where these jobs would come from, especially considering that the pipeline is slated to bring only 35 permanent jobs.
With regulation rollbacks and budget cuts, President Trump, Scott Pruitt, and this administration of climate liars will make Oklahoma dirtier than it’s ever been. That is not only concerning for my family, it should be for families across the nation, as global warming is getting a free pass to destroy the planet.