The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Pennsylvania
Just in the past three years, the Trump administration has attempted to roll back at least 95 environmental rules and regulations to the detriment of the environment and Americans’ public health. Moreover, 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.
Between 2017 and 2019, Pennsylvania experienced eight severe storms and two winter storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.
Impacts of climate change
- Superstorm Sandy pounded Pennsylvania in 2012 with wind gusts of more than 50 mph in most regions. The storm caused 14 deaths, left more than 3 million Pennsylvania residents without electrical power, and led to more than $16 billion of damages in the state.
- Pennsylvania currently experiences five days of dangerous heat per year, but projections indicate that number will increase threefold to 15 such days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 310,000 North Carolinians who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
- Philadelphia is the 17th-fastest-warming city in the United States.
Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies
- In March 2020, the Trump administration announced its final rule to overturn Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars. These weakened fuel standards will lead to higher greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions and will cost Pennsylvanians $610 million.
- 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 Pennsylvania’s economy relies on agriculture and its outdoor recreation industry—which are both highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
- Mercury emissions in Pennsylvania decreased from 2011 to 2017 by 90 percent, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions that are allowed from power plants.
- In 2019, the Trump administration released a series of proposed changes loosening regulations of coal-powered plants and the disposal of coal ash, which can threaten drinking water quality. These deregulations are dangerous for Pennsylvania, which has 105 coal ash storage and disposal sites and produces the most coal ash of any state in the country—more than 15.4 million tons.
To read the personal stories of Americans affected by climate change and the impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies in your state, visit OurEnvironment.org.