The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Alaska

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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 2019, Alaska experienced a wildfire season with 720 fires, making it among the biggest fire seasons on record for the state. The damages of the season led to losses of at least $300 million.

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 Alaska’s economy relies heavily on its tourism and outdoor recreation industries, both of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Tourism: In 2017, Alaska’s visitor industry accounted for 43,300 jobs and generated an economic impact of $4.5 billion.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Alaska generates 72,000 direct jobs and more than $7 billion in consumer spending.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Alaska decreased by nearly 32 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.

Public lands

  • In an effort to fulfill its “energy dominance” agenda, the Trump administration is working to essentially liquidate public lands in Alaska, auctioning off rights to drill in areas that serve as essential wildlife habitats as well as subsistence hunting areas for Alaska Native communities.
  • In total, the Trump administration has proposed to open 3 million acres of land for transfer and leasing sales in Alaska. This degradation of Alaska’s natural amenities endangers local economies, such as fishing and outdoor recreation, as well as fuels the climate crisis by selling carbon sinks to industrial interests.

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.