I hope, even if you like President Donald Trump, that you are as concerned and upset as I am about all his rollbacks and repeals of our environmental protections. Trump has eliminated almost 100 environmental rules and regulations.

I was particularly concerned when he eliminated the prohibition on dumping bad stuff into our rivers and streams. I’ve spent time on every Maine river, and my favorite was always the Kennebec River. I canoed, kayaked, boated, and fished the entire Kennebec — from it’s start at Moosehead Lake to it’s end at Popham Beach.

It’s a very beautiful river, and I always appreciated the effort that many people made to clean it up. Trump even revoked a rule that prevented coal companies from dumping mining debris into local streams.

Trump’s disdain for our public waterways is very troubling. He proposed a rule exempting certain types of power plants from parts of a federal rule limiting toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways. And he allowed coastal replenishment projects to use sand from protected beaches.

My wife Linda and I are avid birders, so I was upset when Trump suspended the protections for migrating birds. The things that industries have to do to protect those birds are not expensive. Now only those who deliberately try to kill migrating birds can be fined. You probably know that bird populations are in sharp decline as a result of habitat loss, climate change, agriculture, development, pesticides, and invasive or non-native species. We need to do what we can to protect those birds.

He also rolled back a roughly 40-year-old interpretation of a policy aimed at protecting migratory birds, potentially running afoul of treaties with Canada and Mexico, and overturned a ban on using parts of migratory birds in handicrafts made by Alaskan Natives.

President Trump has taken a number of actions that will harm our beautiful national parks and forests, from opening them up to gas and oil drilling and coal mining to removing protection for visitors to methane gas and the other hazards. I am particularly concerned that he has authorized drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Linda and I visited a lot of national parks — our favorites were Glacier National Park in Montana in Big Bend National Park in Texas — and I am so distressed when Trump is doing these things to these wonderful and special places. Trump also reversed restrictions on the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks designed to cut down on litter, despite a Park Service report that the effort worked.

With a lot of coastline, Mainers have to be worried that Trump has loosened offshore drilling safety regulations, including reduced testing requirements for blowout prevention systems.

Those requirements were initially implemented after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Of course, I’m also concerned about the repeal of protective measures for our fish and wildlife. Trump revoked a directive for federal agencies to minimize impacts on water, wildlife, land and other natural resources when approving development projects.

Trump also changed the way the endangered species act is applied, making it more difficult to protect wildlife from long-term threats posed by climate change. And he overturned a ban on the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands.

He proposed withdrawing efficiency standards for residential furnaces and commercial water heaters designed to reduce energy use. And he initially withdrew, then delayed, a proposed rule that would inform car owners about fuel-efficient replacement tires.

Now these are only a few of all the environmental changes Trump has done. This is a real disaster. I can only hope that in November we will elect a president who values and will protect our environment and our national parks, birds and other wildlife, and ourselves.

George Smith can be reached at 34 Blake Hill Road, Mount Vernon 04352, or [email protected] Read more of Smith’s writings at www.georgesmithmaine.com.


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