Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Report: Impacts of Climate Change, Trump Administration’s ‘Anti-Environmental’ Agenda in Puerto Rico

By on June 2, 2020

Center for American Progress compiles list of grievances

SAN JUAN — The Center for American Progress, a liberal research organization, published Tuesday a breakdown of actions by the administration of President Trump that it considers specifically detrimental to Puerto Rico.

The organization pointed to a list published by the New York Times of at least 95 environmental rules and regulations that the administration has attempted to roll back during the past three years “to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health.”

“Over the past three years, we have fulfilled President Trump’s promises to provide certainty for states, tribes, and local governments,” a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement to The Times, adding that the department was “delivering on President Trump’s commitment to return the agency to its core mission: Providing cleaner air, water and land to the American people.”

The nonprofit organization wrote that the administration “refuses to act to mitigate the effects of climate change—instead loosening requirements for polluters emitting the greenhouse gases that fuel the climate crisis. This dangerous agenda is affecting the lives of Americans across all 50 states and Puerto Rico.”

Saying that the hurricanes that struck the island between 2017 and 2019 led to losses of at least $1 billion, the organization published the following:

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

Temperature

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • The Trump administration is attempting to gut climate considerations from major infrastructure projects by eliminating the “cumulative impact” requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is concerning because Puerto Rico’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and tourism, both of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Agriculture: Agriculture in Puerto Rico accounts for only 3 percent of the labor force and less than 1 percent of the gross domestic product, but Hurricane Maria is still estimated to have damaged $2 billions’ worth of agriculture.
    • Tourism: In 2017, the tourism industry in Puerto Rico accounted for a total economic impact of $7.8 billion and supported a total of 83,000 jobs.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Puerto Rico decreased by nearly 11 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.

Toxics

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