In the last two months before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, President Obama is working to make sure that the environment is protected during Trump’s presidency.
Trump has vowed to open more federal lands and waters to drilling and mining during his presidency. Surely, President Obama isn’t ready to sit idly and watch that happen.
In a last-ditch effort to save these areas, the Obama administration is making several moves that will hopefully safeguard the environment as much as possible. Just this week, the Department of the Interior banned gold mining on 30,000 acres of land near the northern entrance Yellowstone National Park.
“There are good places to mine for gold, but the doorstep of [Yellowstone] is not one of them,” said DOI Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday.
Furthermore, the administration recently made swift moves in the oil and gas industry. In Western Colorado, for instance, more than two dozen oil and gas leases were cancelled earlier this month. A ban on offshore drilling in the Arctic for at least five years has also been instituted. In Montana, 32,000 acres of mining leases have been cancelled — the land is considered to be sacred by the Blackfeet tribe.
President Obama is also expected implement more last minute projects before he vacates the White House. The Guardian reports that Obama may name new national monuments in the Bears Ears landscape in Utah, Nevada’s Gold Butte and the greater Grand Canyon area.
While President Obama has made countless efforts during his time in office to better the environment, it is uncertain whether or not they will withstand a Trump presidency. Some are concerned about Donald Trump’s ability to uphold the changes made by Obama because he has publicly gone against many of them. Mr. Trump has promised to dismantle the EPA, repeal the Clean Power Plan, and support the Keystone XL pipeline. Possibly the most disturbing statement that Trump has made is when openly called climate change “bullshit.”
As the Huffington Post reports,
“The next few years will bring some big fights and also some unpredictable fluidity,” Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp wrote in a November blog post. “We will ferociously defend America’s bedrock environmental protections, both in Congress and the courts, and we are secure in the knowledge that a large majority of Americans supports those protections.”