The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Vermont
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.
In 2018, Vermont experienced one severe storm. The damages of this event led to losses of at least $1 billion.
Impacts of climate change
- Climate change is altering Vermont’s winters. Temperatures are rising, causing winters to start later and end earlier. In Vermont, spring is arriving two weeks earlier and winter is starting one week later compared with 1960.
- Vermont’s warming winters are leading to less lake and pond freeze-over and less snow cover, which threatens the state’s ski industry. In the 2015-16 season, Vermont generated about $595 million in economic impact from the ski industry alone.
- Annual precipitation in Vermont has increased by nearly 7 inches over the past 50 years, contributing to increased incidences of flooding throughout the state.
- In 2011, Hurricane Irene caused severe flooding in Vermont, with record rainfall of 4 to 8 inches in less than 18 hours. In total, the hurricane caused more than $700 million in damages to state infrastructure and private property.
- Vermont currently experiences approximately 10 days per year when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will increase fivefold to 50 such days per year by 2050.
- Temperatures in Vermont have increased by more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and 2 degrees Fahrenheit in summer over the past 50 years.
- With warmer winters allowing ticks to survive year-round, Vermont now faces greater risk from Lyme disease-carrying ticks. More than 380 confirmed cases of Lyme disease have been reported each year since 2011, up from 60 or fewer before 2006. In 2017, Vermont’s Lyme disease rate was the highest in the nation, with 174 new cases diagnosed per 100,000 people.
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 Vermont residents $61.7 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 Vermont’s economy relies heavily on its agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation industries—all of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
- Agriculture: According to a 2015 report, agriculture, commercial fishing, forestry, and related businesses had an economic impact of $6.6 billion and supplied 36,994 jobs in Vermont.
- Tourism: In 2017, the tourism industry in Vermont generated an economic impact of more than $2.8 billion and supported nearly 32,204 jobs, accounting for roughly 10 percent of all jobs in the state.
- Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Vermont generates 51,000 direct jobs and $5.5 billion in consumer spending.
- In 2020, President Donald Trump proposed cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by more than one-quarter and the Superfund program by more than $100 million. Vermont has 14 Superfund sites. Exposure to contamination from toxic sites can lead to adverse health effects such as cancer and birth defects.
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.