'Don't Panic': Professor Aseem Prakash & Colleague on Trump & Environmental Policy

UW Political Science Professor Aseem Prakash and his colleague from the UW School of Marine and Environmental Affairs Nives Dolsak recently published an article discussing the potential impact that Trump and his administration will have on the EPA and environmental policy more broadly.

Based on the hostility toward environmental issues that Trump has articulated, it is important to ask what environmentalists can and should do to protect and further pursue environmental progress. Prakash and Dolsak make a case to their readers not to panic. For one, “the president cannot unilaterally abolish the EPA without congressional approval,” they note. And though Trump and congressional Republicans “could try to defund” the EPA, “environmental groups [can] sue to compel the EPA to enforce the laws.” Furthermore, “the EPA’s rules cannot be rescinded easily.” 

Drawing a parallel to the 2000s “when Republicans controlled both houses and the presidency from 2003 to 2007,” Prakash and Dolsak point out that “the setbacks of those times were temporary and limited to the federal level. In response, much of the environmental policy innovation moved to states and cities.” Finally, they argue that there are some surprising commonalities between Trump and environmentalists, particularly in the areas of trade and infrastructure. Overall, Prakash and Dolsak conclude that “environmentalists must stand up against Trump when he threatens the regulations and agreements necessary to keeping our Earth inhabitable.” 

The article entitled “Trump Can’t Abolish the EPA” appeared on Slate.com on November 16, 2016. Founded in 1996, Slate is an online daily magazine that is “offering analysis and commentary about politics, news, business, technology, and culture.”