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President Donald Trump delivered a speech at the White House on Monday highlighting his administration’s environmental achievements.
The mainstream media greeted the idea with derision. But the speech was an important milestone, for three reasons: first, Trump distinguished between environmental protection and climate change policy; second, Trump supported “conservation” rather than “preservation”; and third, Trump argued convincingly that economic growth is good for the planet.
Point - Democrats - Media - Climate - Change
The first point is crucial. Democrats, and the media have conflated climate change with environmental protection. But climate change is primarily about energy policy, not about the environment. Climate change is also an abstract phenomenon, one whose effects — assuming even the worst-case models are true — will be relatively mild compared to other threats the planet faces. The dangers of polluted air, water, and soil — the historical focus of the Environmental Protection Agency — are usually more direct.
When it diverts time, energy, and money from these problems (which it can solve) to climate change (which it cannot solve), the EPA puts the environment at greater risk. “We’ve refocused the EPA back on its core mission,” Trump said on Monday, and he listed several examples: aggressive cleanup of Superfund hazardous waste sites; tightening drinking water standards; tackling the problem of lead-contaminated dust; restoring the Everglades; and signing legislation to deal with the damage of red tides.
Trump - Vision - Gifford - Pinchot - Idea
Second, Trump supported the conservationist vision of Gifford Pinchot — the idea that the natural environment exists for human benefit, and that natural resources should be used responsibly. (The more dominant view among today’s environmentalists is that of John Muir, who championed preservation — the idea that the environment exists for its own sake, and that humans should keep it as pristine as possible.) Trump argued for opening federal lands and forests to careful use, rather than locking them away in...
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