Photograph from the Bureau of Land Management
Dear Mr. President,
National Geographic has an ongoing list of nearly forty items pertaining to direct attacks your administration has made on the environment. I think that we both can agree that National Geographic is not “fake news.” I do wonder sometimes, however, if you think science is “fake.”
In any case, since ratings are so dearly important to you, I’m going to walk you through some of your official actions on National Geographic’s list and compare them with public opinion. This letter focuses on Federal Lands, but fear not – forthcoming letters will cover issues such as climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency, budget cuts, pipelines, drilling, and more!
When your actions are comparable to public opinion, you’ll get a +1. When they are contrary to public opinion, you’ll get a -1. Let’s begin!
Signed resolution allowing coal dumping in streams, overturning the Obama-era “Stream Protection Rule.” Production from this type of mining is on the decline (15% since 2000). In 2016, Pew Research Center reported that nearly 60% of Americans oppose expanding coal mining further in any way. In 2016, 61% of Americans were concerned with potentially drinking polluted water, a 6% increase from the previous year. Overturning this is preposterous, and wrong, and Americans know it. -1
Allowance of lead bullets on federal lands, known to poison wildlife. Review of the Sage Grouse ordered to determine if it poses a threat to plan to increase drilling on federal land. NOAA removes whale protections from fishing nets. Under Obama, 40% of Americans thought that there were “the right amount” of wildlife protections. 39%, meanwhile, thought there were not yet enough protections. An overwhelming 90% of Americans support the Endangered Species Act. We can protect our environment while having a healthy economy! -1
Review of National Monuments leading to proposed shrinkage of Bears Ears National Monument. Nationally, there is overwhelming support for Bears Ears, with companies such as Patagonia taking stands to protect it. In Utah itself, the polls vary drastically, as 65% of Utah is already federally owned. However, National Monuments fall under the care of the National Park Service, from which the #RESISTANCE movement was born out of. 77% of Americans believe that the U.S. benefits from the National Park Service, 55% saying they personally benefit from them. As of January 2016, 49% of Americans thought the government is doing too little to protect these lands, while 46% said the current protections were fine. Given the state-level scandal of Bears Ears, I’ll be more generous this time -.5
Donated salary to National Park Service. Many Americans thought this was not enough, especially considering the proposed budget cuts. But, overall, seemingly no ill will here. I commend you for showing some generosity. +1
This round, you receive a -1.5!
In conclusion I ask only that you truly listen to what the American people, especially young Americans, want from their federal government. Perhaps it will improve your score for next time.