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High Country News

Biden needs to go beyond a Trump reset

The president-elect has an opportunity to rebuild better than before.

In early 2017, not long after President Donald J. Trump moved into the White House, his chief advisor, Steve Bannon, said that the administration’s aim was the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” A charitable listener might have heard a run-of-the-mill libertarian goal, to downsize the bloated government in order to make room for personal liberties.

It has since become clear that Trump cared more about freedom for government and corporations — and for that matter, COVID-19 — to run rampant.

Bears Ears National Monument was designated by President Obama in December 2016. In December 2017 President Trump attempted to reduce Bears Ears National Monument through a new presidential proclamation, cutting the size of the monument by 85%. This modification is being contested. Jeff Sullivan/CC via Flickr

Perhaps nowhere was Trump’s approach more thorough than when it comes to the Earth. He removed limits on mercury and methane emissions, incapacitated the Clean Water Act and gutted protections for the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, to name just a few of nearly 100 rollbacks. All purportedly to help the economy, achieve “energy dominance” on public lands and make him look good — energy-efficient light bulbs, he said, “make you look orange.”

President-elect Joseph R. Biden has indicated that he’ll quickly roll back the rollbacks as soon as he’s inaugurated. Yet a reset is not enough. In fact, many of the rules didn’t cut it under President Obama, and though Obama tried to fix many of them, his efforts often fell short. Here are a few examples of policies and rules that Trump obliterated, and that Biden — hopefully with Congress’s help — could now rebuild, making them better and stronger than before.

See the rest of the story here: https://www.hcn.org/articles/opinion-politics-biden-needs-to-go-beyond-a-trump-reset

Jonathan Thompson is a contributor to Writers on the Range, writersontherange.org, a nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. He is a longtime journalist and the author of River of Lost Souls: The Science, Politics, and Greed Behind the Gold King Mine Disaster.

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High Country News

High Country News

Working to inform and inspire people — through in-depth journalism — to act on behalf of the West’s diverse natural and human communities.