Trump’s Dangerous Environmental Rollback Could Cost Taxpayers More than $58 Billion By 2030

By: Claire Moser

Editor’s note: This post has been updated.

Today, President Donald Trump is expected to sign a sweeping executive order that attacks critical environmental protections and rolls back programs aimed at safeguarding public health and combating climate change. Despite White House officials saying that the order will promote “energy independence,” the executive order does nothing to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, and instead shows how polluters are helping write the president’s radical anti-environmental agenda.

If fully implemented, the actions directed by Trump’s executive order could cost taxpayers more than $58 billion dollars by 2030.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • The most notable action in the executive order is aimed at repealing the Clean Power Plan, which set the first-ever carbon pollution standards for coal-fired power plants. Without the Clean Power Plan, taxpayers will lose out on $26 billion in climate and health benefits by 2030.
  • Today’s executive order will also remove all limits on methane pollution from oil and gas production by undoing two Obama administration rules. Specifically, Trump’s executive order will target the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for reducing methane from new operations, which will result in taxpayers losing out on $170 million by 2025. The executive order also eliminates the Bureau of Land Management’s rule aimed at reducing methane waste from oil and gas operations on public lands, which would cost taxpayers $800 million in lost royalties over the next 10 years.
  • Last year, the Obama administration issued a temporary pause on new coal leases on America’s public lands while the Department of the Interior completed a comprehensive review to ensure taxpayers receive a fair share of royalties. Today’s executive order, however, will lift that pause as the first step in halting efforts to reform the coal leasing program. Without reforms, the program will continue to cost taxpayers at least $1 billion a year in lost royalties — or an estimated $13 billion by 2030.
  • Trump’s executive order is also reported to target several policies aimed at helping communities across the country prepare for the worst impacts of climate change. These include an Obama administration policy aimed increasing the sustainability and efficiency of the federal government. Without the policy, which would have reduced agency emissions by 40 percent over the next decade, taxpayers will lose out on more than $18 billion in savings from reduced energy costs.

In addition to these costs to taxpayers, Trump’s executive order will include attacks on at least five other policies that are saving communities across the country billions of dollars. Trump’s order is expected to eliminate a standard set during the Obama administration to avoid repeated and costly repairs from flooding to infrastructure paid for by federal dollars. By eliminating this standard, Trump is putting more than $100 billion of federal assets in floodplains at risk.

Although it is unlikely that many of today’s actions will be fully implemented, it is clear that Trump’s executive order is part of an agenda written by special interests. With each attack on environmental protections and by prioritizing oil, gas, and coal companies over those of American taxpayers, President Trump puts the health and well-being of communities across the country at risk.

Update (3/29/17): The analysis included above was based on preliminary press reports of actions included in President Trump’s executive order, some of which were not included in the final text. Based on the final text of the executive order, which was released Tuesday afternoon, our revised analysis shows that, if fully implemented, the actions directed by Trump’s executive order will cost taxpayers more than $40 billion dollars by 2030.

To view the final text of the executive order, click here.


Claire Moser (@Claire_Moser) is the Senior Campaign Manager for Climate at the Center for American Progress.