Wildfires Turn US West Coast into 'Hellscape' Sept 13, 2020 19:10:32 GMT
Post by Admin on Sept 13, 2020 19:10:32 GMT
The west is burning. Wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington are incinerating homes, killing scores of people, sickening many others, causing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, burning entire towns to the ground, consuming millions of acres, and blanketing the western third of the United States with thick, acrid and dangerous smoke.
Yet the president has said and done almost nothing. A month ago, Trump wanted to protect lives in Oregon and California from “rioters and looters”. He sent federal forces into the streets of Portland and threatened to send them to Oakland and Los Angeles.
Today, Portland is in danger of being burned and Oakland and Los Angeles are under health alerts. Trump will visit California on Monday, but he has said little.
One reason: these states voted against him in 2016 and he still bears a grudge.
He came close to rejecting California’s request for emergency funding.
“He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him,” said former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor.
Another explanation for Trump’s silence is that the wildfires are tied to human-caused climate change, which Trump has done everything humanly possible to worsen.
Extreme weather disasters are rampaging across America. On Wednesday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released its latest State of the Climate report, finding that just in August the US was hit by four billion-dollar calamities. In addition to wildfires, there were two enormous hurricanes and an extraordinary Midwest derecho.
These are inconvenient facts for a president who has spent much of his presidency dismantling every major climate and environmental policy he can lay his hands on.
Starting with his unilateral decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump has been the most anti-environmental president in history.
He has called climate change a “hoax”. He has claimed, with no evidence, that windmills cause cancer. He has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide from power plants and from cars and trucks. He has rolled back rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. He has opened more public land to oil and gas drilling.
He has targeted California in particular, revoking the state’s authority to set tougher car emission standards than those required by the federal government.
In all, the Trump administration has reversed, repealed, or otherwise rolled back nearly 70 environmental rules and regulations. More than 30 rollbacks are still in progress.