The League of Conservation Voters has traditionally issued a report card for new presidents at the end of their first year in office as an early assessment of how well the new administration is protecting our environment – if there was anything worse than an “F”, President Trump would get it.
However, to simply award Trump an “F” does not come close to capturing both the breadth and depth of his administration’s assault on environmental protections and the harm it is causing communities across the country – all to provide favors to the wealthiest corporate polluting interests. The totality of anti-environmental offenses made to benefit special interests is absolutely staggering.
We’ve produced a timeline of key rollbacks, polluter giveaways, efforts to silence scientists and other abuses of power from the first year under Trump.
DONALD TRUMP: FIRST YEAR REPORT CARD
Within minutes of his swearing in, Trump’s environmental policies are outlined
on the White House website and include pledges to eliminate the Climate
Action Plan and Clean Water Rule, and mentions of climate change and clean
energy are removed as well.
The Trump administration freezes the Obama administration’s energy efficiency
standards for air compressors, which are devices used to power commercial
and industrial equipment, portable air conditioners, commercial packaged
boilers, and uninterruptible power supplies.
Trump signs executive orders that direct the Army Corps of Engineers to
expedite the Dakota Access pipeline and invite TransCanada to resubmit its
application for the Keystone XL pipeline. Both of these pipelines threaten local
water sources and lock in our country’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Trumps signs an executive order that significantly shortens the process for
environmental reviews and analyses, which undermines the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Trump signs an executive order requiring that two regulations be eliminated
every time a new regulation is made. The order also directs that spending on all
new regulations for the rest of this fiscal year should be zero. This order
threatens bedrock environmental protections and makes it extremely difficult to
develop new safeguards.
Trump signs into law the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval”
of the Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers Rule. This
repeals the rule issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission that
promotes transparency by requiring drilling and mining companies to disclose
any payments they make to foreign governments.
Trump signs into law the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval”
of the Stream Protection Rule. This repeals the rule issued by the Department
of the Interior that holds coal companies accountable for water pollution. The
rule was projected to safeguard 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of
forest from coal companies’ pollution.
Trump signs an executive order that creates a task force that, under the guise
of regulatory reform, will work to eliminate safeguards and protections for public
health and the environment.
Trump issues a 2018 budget outline that proposes dramatic slashes in
spending for environmental programs and research. The outline proposes a 25
percent cut to the EPA’s budget and a 20 percent reduction of staff. It also
suggests NOAA climate science research programs be cut by over 20 percent.
Trump signs an executive order instructing EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to
rewrite President Obama’s 2015 Clean Water Rule, which restored key
protections for streams and wetlands.
Trump’s Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, signs an order reversing an Obama
administration ban on the use of lead bullets in wildlife refuges that allow
hunting and fishing. The ban was meant to prevent lead poisoning in plants and
Trump announces that he will order the EPA to redo the midterm evaluation of
fuel efficiency standards for cars. These fuel efficiency standards are one of the
key federal programs aimed at reducing emissions from the transportation
sector, which accounts for one-third of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S.
Trump proposes a preliminary budget that cuts the EPA’s budget by 31
percent, cuts the Department of Interior’s budget by 12 percent, cuts the
Department of Energy’s budget by 5.6 percent—which includes completely
eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and the Advanced
Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program—cuts funding for NOAA, and
eliminates the Green Climate Fund and the Climate Investment Fund.
The State Department issues a presidential permit that allows TransCanada to
build the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Trump signs into law the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval”
of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Planning 2.0 Rule. This law
repeals a rule that would make planning processes more efficient and increase
public participation in BLM’s management of more than 245 million acres of
America’s public lands.
Trump signs an executive order that aims to roll back numerous initiatives that
address climate change. The order contains provisions to rewrite the Clean
Power Plan, reconsider carbon emission standards for new power plants,
reconsider regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas operations, lift
the moratorium on federal coal leasing on public lands, and revisit the social
cost of carbon estimate that is used to calculate the economic costs of climate
change and justify policies that reduce emissions. It also contains provisions to
rescind policies that balance natural resource development with the impacts on
the land, review safety standards for hydraulic fracturing on public lands,
rescind presidential guidance that encourages agencies to leverage private
investment for natural resources restoration, and repeal guidance for factoring
climate change into reviews of major projects under the National Environmental
Policy Act (NEPA).
Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, rejects the scientific conclusion of the
EPA’s own chemical safety experts who recommended that chlorpyrifos, one of
the nation’s most widely used insecticides, be permanently banned on farms
nationwide because of the public health risks. Scientific studies have shown
that exposure to the chemical causes reduced cognitive function, particularly
among farm workers and young children.
Trump’s Interior Department informs oil and gas companies of their plan to
change royalty calculations for minerals extracted from federal lands. This will
allow fossil fuel companies to underpay the federal government by selling to
subsidiaries at artificially low prices.
Trump signs into law the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval”
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule.
This law blocks efforts to protect wildlife from the Alaska’s intensive predator
control policy, a policy that significantly suppresses the populations of native
carnivores in order to artificially inflate game populations.
The Senate confirms Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, by a
vote of 54-45. Gorsuch’s record reflects support for corporations at the expense
of the public interest, and his stance on the “Chevron doctrine” and
demonstrated hostility of the federal agencies’ regulatory power could
undermine the EPA’s ability to enforce safeguards against polluters.
The EPA delays the compliance date by which power plants have to begin
demonstrating they are using up-to-date technology to remove toxins from
wastewater. The rule seeks to limit the amount of toxic metals, such as arsenic
and mercury, that power plants dispose of in public waterways.
Trump signs an executive order that opens a “review” of more than 20 national
monuments. This order threatens protections for public lands and potentially
opens them up to fossil fuel companies for drilling. The order also defies the
century-old law that has protected millions of acres of public lands, the
The EPA asks a federal court to delay a case about a rule limiting the amount
of mercury, lead and other toxins emitted from power plants. Under the rule,
known as the MATS rule, coal and oil-powered utilities are required to install
pollution controls equivalent to those of their cleanest peers in the sector.
Trump signs an executive order directing Interior Secretary Zinke to review the
current five-year development plan on outer continental shelf offshore oil and
gas exploration in Arctic waters, areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic outer
continental shelves. In addition, the order directs the Commerce Department to
review all marine sanctuaries created or expanded in the last 10 years. The
order eliminates the Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area and the
accompanying tribal advisory council set up by Alaskan tribes and the Obama
administration in 2016 to ensure that tribes have a voice in managing federal
natural resources. The order also directs the Secretary of Commerce to review
marine national monument and national marine sanctuary designations, as well
as review technical guidance on the impacts of oil and gas seismic testing
exploration on marine life.
The D.C. Circuit Court grants a stay in litigation over the Clean Power Plan at
the request of the Trump administration and the EPA. The stay lasts for 60
days while the EPA decides how to proceed with the Clean Power Plan, a plan
that called for the power sector to cut carbon pollution by 32 percent below
The EPA fires members of the Board of Scientific Counselors, a board that
reviews EPA scientists’ work.
The Interior Department announces a review of six energy company
applications requesting seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean. The Obama
Administration rejected all six applications and seismic surveys have been
blocked in the region for at least 30 years.
Trump’s EPA reaches a settlement with a mining company to build a mine in
Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed. This action could revive a project that had been
effectively ended under the Obama administration due to environmental
Trump releases a full budget proposal with significant cuts to the EPA,
Department of Interior, Department of Energy, and the Army Corps of
Engineers. The plan calls to eliminate restoration projects for the Great Lakes,
Chesapeake Bay, and the Puget Sound, in addition to a lead risk-reduction
Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, signs a proposed regulation that
suspends compliance dates for regulations limiting toxic pollution from coalfired
Trump’s EPA reconsiders rules on methane emissions from landfills. The
existing standards would reduce methane emissions from new and existing
landfills, which are the third largest industrial source of methane in the U.S.
Trump withdraws from the Paris Climate Accord. This renouncement of our
commitments to reduce carbon emissions takes the U.S. even further in the
wrong direction, putting global health at risk and jeopardizing our country’s
standing in the world.
Trump’s EPA delays implementation of the Obama administration rule meant to
protect farm workers from toxic pesticides.
Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, delays the implementation of ozone
pollution standards. This delay will increase pollutants that are the main
components of smog. Ozone contributes to a number of adverse health effects,
including exacerbating respiratory problems.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signs an order that calls for a review of the rules
protecting sage grouse. The order reopens a compromise plan between
conservationists and industry that was brokered under the Obama
administration. This action opens the door for activities that threaten the sage
The EPA and BLM delay rules that would limit the release of methane from oil
and gas sources.
The Trump administration refuses to sign a G-7 statement committing the
United States to reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The six other nations that
signed on to the statement acknowledge the need to limit global warming and
increase efforts to reduce emissions.
Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, signs a directive delaying chemical
plant safety standards until 2019. The original rule was put in motion after 15
people were killed following an explosion at a Texas chemical plant in 2013.
This delay would make conditions less safe for workers.
The Trump administration cancels a rule limiting the number of whales,
dolphins, and sea turtles that can be killed or hurt by fishing nets. The rule
would have helped protect endangered species.
Trump’s EPA announces a delay on methane emissions standards set by the
Obama administration. The action means that the oil and gas industry does not
have to comply with the emissions standards during the two-year stay.
Trump’s BLM delays rules that would limit methane emissions. They would
have prevented nearly 200,000 tons of methane pollution per year from oil and
Trump’s Interior Department allows the charter to expire for the Advisory
Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science. The group was
formed under the Obama administration to advise the Secretary of the Interior
and included scientists, state experts, environmentalists, and business
Trump’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration announces it
will not enforce parts of a 2016 safeguard for underground natural gas storage
sites. The 2016 rule was put in place after one of the largest gas leaks in U.S.
Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, further cripples the Board of Scientific
Counselors—which provides the EPA advice on its research and programs—by
not renewing the tenures of 38 of the 49 existing members. The move signals
the agency’s lack of interest in unbiased science and desire to stack advisory
boards with representatives from industry.
Trump’s EPA finalizes two framework rules required under the revised Toxic
Substances Control Act. These finalized rules are much weaker than the
original proposed rules, fulfilling the chemical industry’s wishes, ignoring the
requirements of the law, and jeopardizing the health of families, especially
Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke announce their first steps for rewriting the
Obama administration’s offshore oil and gas leasing plan for 2017-2022.
Trump’s Interior Department issues an order that speeds up the permitting
process for oil and gas drilling on public lands. The order is indicative of the
Trump administration’s larger agenda, which prioritizes benefits for the fossil
fuel industry over people’s access to public lands.
The Trump administration suspends enforcement of penalties for automakers
that violate fuel efficiency standards. The transportation sector is one of the
country’s largest sources of the pollution that fuels climate change, and this
sector accounts for the majority of our oil consumption.
Trump’s Interior Department orders a review of federal rules that outlaw killing
bears and wolves using extreme techniques. Rescinding the rule would enable
hunters to kill bear and wolf mothers in dens with pups.
The Trump administration announces it will use its votes at multilateral
development banks, such as the World Bank, to support funding coal power
plants. This decision represents a handout to the fossil fuel industry and takes
a step back in the fight against climate change.
Trump’s EPA withdraws a proposed rule setting recycling standards for aerosol
cans. This action eases regulation of industries that make and use aerosol
cans. It also makes it easier to discard aerosol cans rather than to recycle
them, which will increase pollution.
The Senate confirms Trump’s nomination of David Bernhardt to be Deputy
Secretary of the Interior Department by a vote of 53-43. Bernhardt has a long
history of lobbying for the very industries under DOI’s purview—creating
numerous conflicts of interest—and, combined with his proximity to ethics
scandals during his previous tenure at DOI, Bernhardt’s ability to put the public
interest first is questionable at best.
Trump’s Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, rejects findings from the Atlantic
States Marine Fisheries Commission on the fishing quota for summer flounder
in New Jersey. The Trump administration’s overruling is unprecedented in the
75 years the commission has overseen fishing along the East Coast.
Trump’s EPA formally proposes the repeal of the Clean Water Rule. The rule
clarifies the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, reinstating its protections to
small streams and wetlands. This rollback of drinking water safeguards would
allow big polluters to dump waste into the drinking water of 1 in 3 people in this
country – that’s 117 million.
Trump’s Department of Homeland Security waives environmental laws and
regulations for border wall projects. This project prioritizes construction of an
environmentally and culturally destructive wall ahead of protecting water
resources for communities on both sides of the border, federally protected
lands, clean air, and hundreds of endangered species.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke orders changes to the department’s and states’
implementation of conservation plans for the sage grouse. This action is a
giveaway to fossil fuel special interests that threaten the existence of the sage
The State Department provides guidance to diplomats to downplay the United
States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Trump signs an executive order rolling back the Federal Flood Risk
Management Standard, which requires new infrastructure plans to account for
climate change. Federal investments in infrastructure will no longer need to be
built to withstand stronger storms and flooding stemming from climate change.
The Trump administration ends a ban on bottled water sales in national parks.
The ban had been in place since 2011 in order to reduce waste in national
The Trump administration disbands the Advisory Committee for the Sustained
National Climate Assessment. The committee’s purpose is to arm policymakers
and private-sector stakeholders with government climate analysis to aid in longterm
Trump’s Interior Department directs the National Academies of Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine to stop examining the health impacts of
mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.
Secretary of the Interior Zinke signs an order arbitrarily limiting the length of
environmental impact statements for major infrastructure projects.
The Trump administration rescinds a 2016 Obama administration order calling
on the National Park Service to prioritize climate change in management
practices for natural and cultural resources.
The EPA places former Trump campaign staffer John Konkus in charge of
reviewing and approving EPA grants. Konkus instructed staff to eliminate
references to climate change in applications for grant funding. Officials from
both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations said having a political
officer involved in rejecting EPA grants is unprecedented.
The EPA plans to move the environmental justice and environmental review
offices under the jurisdiction of the Office of Policy, which is overseen by
political appointees of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
The EPA delays an Obama administration rule that limits toxic water pollution
from steam-electric power plants. By delaying this rule, the administration
allows polluters to continue to dump dangerous pollutants like arsenic and
mercury into our drinking water.
Trump says, “We’ve had bigger storms than this,” in the wake of Hurricanes
Harvey and Irma, which hit Texas and Florida, respectively.
The EPA reconsiders the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate coal ash,
which is created when coal is burned in power plants. The toxic waste is a mix
of mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and other heavy metals that can pollute
waterways and cause health problems.
The Federal Highway Administration announces an expiration of an Obama
administration rule that requires states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
from highway projects.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposes a new rule requiring the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) to subsidize fossil fuels and nuclear power
plants, claiming it will improve the resiliency of the electrical grid.
Trump’s EPA announces a revival of the Smart Sectors program, which is an
effort to be more industry-friendly in the regulatory process. The agency does
not include any environmental or public health groups in the program.
The Interior Department proposes delaying parts of an Obama administration
rule that would limit methane emissions from oil and gas wells on federal lands
as well as modify the social cost of methane, which is used to calculate
damage to the climate from methane pollution.
The Interior Department says it will terminate the Obama administration rules
protecting 10 million acres of federal lands that make up the habitat of the
threatened sage grouse. The lands will be opened up for mining and grazing.
The Trump administration announces its nomination of Andrew Wheeler for
deputy EPA administrator. Wheeler previously worked for Senator Jim Inhofe
(R-OK) on the Environment and Public Works Committee and then as a
lobbyist for coal producer Murray Energy.
EPA Administrator Pruitt issues a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan.
Trump’s EPA removes all mentions of “climate change” from its draft four-year
Trump nominates Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change denier and former
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman, to chair the White
House Council on Environmental Quality.
The State Department approves a cross-border permit for a pipeline expansion
that would transport as much oil from Canadian oil sands as the Keystone XL
EPA Administrator Pruitt issues a directive on the “sue and settle” practice,
which creates new procedural obstacles for groups that sue the EPA for not
enforcing the laws on the books.
Michael Dourson, Trump’s nominee to run the EPA Office of Chemical Safety
and Pollution Prevention and a chemical industry toxicologist-for-hire, starts
working at the EPA before receiving a Senate confirmation vote. On December
13, Dourson withdrew his nomination after intense scrutiny and public pressure.
Trump’s Interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, announces the largest oil and gas lease
sale in U.S. history.
The Interior Department removes all mentions of “climate change” from a draft
of its four-year strategic plan.
Trump’s BLM rescinds the Obama administration’s guidance for taking climate
change and greenhouse gas emissions into account before approving energy
Trump’s EPA delays compliance dates for an Obama administration safeguard
meant to reduce formaldehyde in composite wood products that can cause
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt makes drastic changes to the EPA’s Science
Advisory Board, replacing scientists who have received grants from the agency
with industry voices and state regulators who have a history of criticizing the
The Trump administration says it will exit a global anti-corruption program that
sets standards for public reporting of government revenues received from oil,
gas, and mineral extraction.
The Senate confirms Trump’s nominee, William Wehrum, to be EPA assistant
administrator for air and radiation by a vote of 49-47. Wehrum previously
worked as an attorney for coal, oil, gas, and chemical companies, all of whom
opposed EPA clean air rules.
The EPA proposes repealing the Obama administration’s rules for limiting
greenhouse gas emissions from larger trucks. The rule regulates glider kits,
which are incomplete truck bodies that owners can equip with older engines,
transmissions and axles to build complete and operating trucks.
Trump’s Interior Department announces the closing of a U.S. Geological
Survey science center that studies climate change in Reston, Virginia.
The Senate confirms Trump’s nominee, David Zatezalo, to head the Mine
Health and Safety Administration by a vote of 52-46. Zatezalo previously
worked as an executive for a coal company that had multiple safety violations
during his tenure.
The Trump administration announces its approval for an Italian energy
company to drill exploratory oil wells in the Arctic Ocean. The permit was the
first to allow drilling in Arctic waters in two years.
Trump revokes around 2 million acres of Bears Ears and Grand StaircaseEscalante
national monuments, resulting in the largest elimination of protected
public lands in our nation’s history. This action is outside the president’s legal
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released his final report reviewing national
monuments to the White House, recommending reductions to the Gold Butte
National Monument in Nevada and Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in
Oregon and California, as well as the weakening of protections for half a dozen
other national monuments.
BLM finalizes a two year delay of the methane waste rule, which would reduce
methane pollution from the oil and gas industry on public lands.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt publishes a memo laying out his desire to ease
the air pollution permitting process by accepting industry judgements of their
own emissions projections.
The Trump administration illegally withholds funds for the Department of
Energy’s Advanced Research Projects – Energy (ARPA-E) program, which
supports research and development of new energy technologies.
Trump releases 68-page document outlining his new National Security
Strategy, which ignores threats posed by climate change. In failing to address
climate change’s role in national security, Trump is ignoring the opinions of his
own military advisers including Defense Secretary James Mattis.
EPA issues notice requesting input from the public on replacing the Obama
administration’s Clean Power Plan.
National Park Service removes 92 documents on its response to climate change from the “Climate Friendly Parks Program” website.
Trump’s Interior Department rescinds the Obama administration’s rule establishing new procedures governing fracking on public lands, such as requiring companies to disclose the chemicals used in the process.
The Trump administration announces an overhaul of offshore drilling safety procedures that were put in place after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
The Trump administration proposes allowing offshore drilling in most of the US, including protected areas of the Atlantic and Arctic oceans.