Let’s talk about the states.
With the federal government missing in action, as President Trump was convinced the coronavirus pandemic would “miraculously go away,” America’s worst fear came true. We have the highest death count in the world, tallying over 100,000. And sadly, the lives of American families are forever altered.
Over the years, federal agencies have fallen short in fighting to halt global warming, and now we are discovering these same agencies are also far from the forefront of the COVID-19 scene. American families watched in horror as the death toll spiked in states with high infection rates. When those states asked for supplies – Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and testing for healthcare and essential workers – Trump passed the buck, “They [the states] can get them faster by getting them on their own.” He snidely commented, “The federal government’s not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping, you know, we’re not a shipping clerk.”
Many state governments found bipartisan support for more major aid to the states and believed the Trump administration should be guided by science and public health expertise that called for COVID testing when plans emerged to reopen the country.
As partisan differences about reopening widen, Americans remain concerned that states will lift stay-at-home restrictions too quickly. The restrictions eased in May, and according to a Pew Research Center survey, “A sizable majority of Americans (68%) continue to say their greater concern is that state governments will lift coronavirus-related restrictions on public activity too quickly. Fewer than half as many (31%) say their greater concern is that states will not lift restrictions quickly enough.”
To combat COVID-19, states are now learning similar lessons from the climate fight, as the US has no formal federal climate policy. Trump withdrew from the Paris accord, leaving cities and states to cut dangerous pollution emissions on their own. And while Trump seems fine with giving states leadership when it suits him, he also takes it away, as we’ve seen with his plan to revoke California’s ability to set its own clean car standards, along with the 13 other states that use the California rules.
Governors, mayors and local officials from across the country have stepped up, making new pledges to cut carbon emissions and fight climate change.
In spite of all the rational science-based data, Trump’s EPA led by Andrew Wheeler has been feverishly weakening regulations that protect our families from air pollution by rolling back 100 environmental rules. These reversals are happening under the cover of COVID despite research linking air pollution to higher deaths, especially where the virus is ravaging vulnerable communities. These EPA rollbacks make all Americans sicker.
Governors and mayors continue to counter these rollbacks with ongoing innovative climate initiatives, seeding the winds of change across the country. Many states have been ramping up clean energy and energy efficiency plans using guidance from President Obama’s state-based Clean Power Plan which supported cleaner cars, and developing tools and resource aimed to help states address climate change.
How we fight COVID and climate change will define our children’s future. This makes our state work more important than ever. Moms Clean Air Force is working where you live to be a force for clean air and children’s health. Please take action with us today.