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

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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.

Between 2017 and 2019, Nebraska experienced two severe floods and six severe storms. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Impacts of climate change

Extreme weather

  • By 2050, Nebraska is expected to see a 70 percent increase in threat from widespread drought.
  • 90,000 people in Nebraska are at an elevated risk of inland flooding.
  • In March 2019, Nebraska experienced a “bomb cyclone,” caused by heavy rainfall. Exacerbated by rapid snowmelt, the extreme flooding that resulted caused over $1.3 billion of damage in the state including the destruction of over 2,000 homes and 340 businesses.

Temperature

  • Nebraska currently averages 15 days per year when heat exceeds dangerous levels, but projections indicate that number will more than triple to 40 days per year by 2050. This endangers the lives of the more than 45,000 people in Nebraska who are especially vulnerable to extreme heat.
  • Projections indicate that Nebraska’s climate will resemble that of current-day Pharr, Texas, by 2100.
  • By 2100, summers in Lincoln, Nebraska, will be 5 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2014 summer temperatures.
  • Nebraska’s mosquito breeding season has increased from an average of 27 days per year from 1980 to 1989 to 38 days per year from 2006 to the present, presenting an increased threat of mosquito-borne diseases.

Impacts of the Trump administration’s anti-environmental policies

Climate

  • 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 Nebraska residents more than $85 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 Nebraska’s economy relies heavily on its tourism and outdoor recreation industries, both of which are highly dependent on climate and weather conditions.
    • Tourism: In 2018, the Nebraska visitor industry accounted for almost 50,000 jobs and generated an economic impact of $732 million in tax revenue.
    • Outdoor recreation: The outdoor recreation industry in Nebraska generates 49,000 direct jobs and more than $5 billion in consumer spending.
    • Agriculture: In Nebraska, 1 in 4 jobs are related to agriculture and more than 45,000 farms and ranches are in operation as of February 2020. The agriculture industry contributes $8.7 billion in economic activity.

Air quality

  • Mercury emissions in Nebraska decreased by more than 87 percent from 2011 to 2017, yet the Trump administration just undermined limits on the amount of mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants.

Water quality

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 especially dangerous for Nebraska where, in 2018, the Omaha Public Power District confirmed that coal ash had contaminated groundwater.

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.