Memos & Research

ICYMI: Trump admin’s under the radar environmental attacks

Apr 3, 2020

Contact: Emily Samsel,, 202-454-4573

While the nation’s attention is on the coronavirus pandemic and healthcare workers face a shortage of lifesaving equipment, the Trump administration continues to roll back environmental protections and cater to corporate polluters. Some of these moves are making headline news — like Trump’s expected meeting today with oil company CEOs, his dangerous final rollback of clean car standards, and the EPA’s decision to stop enforcing environmental protections. 

Other appalling anti-environment actions are happening under the radar:

  • DOI continues lease sales on federal lands — despite the most dismal returns we’ve seen in years, which shortchanges taxpayers out of resources owned by all people in this country
  • Bernhardt and Trump are co-opting COVID-19 relief funds as potential industry bailouts by hinting that polluting industries are ‘businesses critical to maintaining national security’ 
  • Last week, DOI ordered that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe’s reservation land in Massachusetts, which they have occupied for 12,000 years, be disestablished, seemingly at the request of lobbyists for casino interests connected to President Trump. The tribe’s citizens are now suffering a loss of resources and services due to the uncertainty of the trust status of the reservation. 
  • Trump’s Energy Department is rescuing private U.S. oil producers by renting them space in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve for excess fuel that isn’t being used — a backwards move to support dirty polluters when a transition off fossil fuels is desperately needed

Prioritizing corporate special interests in the midst of an unprecedented public health and economic crisis is the Trump administration at its worst. Now is the time to support communities, especially the low-wealth communities and communities of color suffering the most from the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis, and toxic pollution — not bail out polluting industries and put our health at further risk.


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