100 Days: Our Response to Trump’s Attacks on the Environment
President Trump and his administration have spent the past 100 days assailing protections for the air, water and climate, but we’re fighting back aggressively in court.
This Saturday marks 100 days since Donald Trump moved into the White House, and 45 currently ranks as the least popular American president in modern times.
Trump’s record-breaking unpopularity is due in part to the fact that he’s spent much of his first three months in office attacking the laws and policies that safeguard what Americans hold dear: pure water to drink, clean air to breathe, a stable climate and well-protected public lands.
At Earthjustice, we’re taking the Trump administration to court for these flagrant attacks on the environment, and we’re heartened by the outpouring of affection and support we’ve received from all corners of the globe.
For those keeping score at home, here’s a rundown of some of the key legal battles Earthjustice has launched against the administration during Trump’s first 100 days:
- JANUARY 24, 2017: Four days after taking office, Trump issues a presidential memorandum to resurrect the long-rejected Keystone XL pipeline and circumvent the environmental review process for the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. Earthjustice is representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as it seeks to protect its sacred lands and water from the Dakota Access pipeline.
- FEBRUARY 8, 2017: Earthjustice and our partners sue the Trump administration to block an executive order, signed January 30th, that directs government agencies like the EPA to repeal two federal protections for every new one they issue.
- MARCH 21, 2017: On behalf of farmers, conservation groups and food and farmworker justice organizations, Earthjustice files a lawsuit against the EPA for approving Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Duo, a mixture of the weed-killing chemicals glyphosate and 2,4-D. Both substances are known to be highly toxic.
- MARCH 28, 2017: The Trump administration issues a sweeping set of executive orders undermining federal actions to combat climate change, including directing the EPA to consider suspending, revising or rescinding the Clean Power Plan. Earthjustice has long been engaged in litigation to defend the Clean Power Plan, and we will continue to fight for it now.
- MARCH 29, 2017: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lifts an Obama-era moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands. On behalf of a coalition and in partnership with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Earthjustice sues the Trump administration over the order, which opens tens of thousands of acres of public land to coal mining.
- MARCH 29, 2017: The EPA, headed by Scott Pruitt, announces that it will not ban chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic pesticide widely used in agriculture that is linked to many health hazards, particularly brain damage in children. Earthjustice and environmental health groups, long involved in a legal challenge to ban chlorpyrifos, are moving to appeal the EPA’s decision.
- APRIL 3, 2017: Earthjustice and our partners notify the Trump administration of our intent to sue the Department of Energy for needlessly delaying a raft of common sense energy efficiency measures for air conditioners and other items.
- APRIL 3, 2017: Citing the potential for serious conflicts of interest, Earthjustice launches a “sunshine investigation” into billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s role in the administration’s anti-climate agenda. We file a Freedom of Information Act request seeking all communication between Icahn and the Trump administration related to environmental matters.
- APRIL 10, 2017: Public health and environmental groups, represented by Earthjustice, call on a federal court to reject efforts by the EPA to delay its defense of stronger smog pollution rules, which were finalized in 2015.
These legal battles are just beginning, but we will stick with them for as long as it takes. Equally important is the affirmative work our expert attorneys are doing at the state level. Their victories in Florida, Maryland, Louisiana and elsewhere are making continued progress on renewable energy possible.
Whether it’s fighting against unjust federal actions or pushing progressive state policies, there’s a role for each of us to play in this important work. After all, winning in court is only half the battle; we must also win in the court of public opinion.
On the 100th day of our nation’s least popular presidency, I’ll be joining with thousands of others in Washington, D.C., for the Peoples Climate March.
That’s why, on the 100th day of our nation’s least popular presidency, I’ll be joining with thousands of others in Washington, D.C., for the Peoples Climate March. The march will give voice to the overwhelming majority of Americans who want politicians to tackle climate change.
The April 29th march is just the beginning. The work for Earthjustice and our supporters will continue in communities across the country and the world as we take on the single greatest challenge facing humanity—even if our leaders refuse to do so. I encourage each of you to visit our new site, “Bright Spots from the Resistance: Why there’s Hope for Climate & Clean Energy Progress,” to learn more about how you can help.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
The 45th U.S. president, Donald J. Trump, is bent on gutting environmental protections, and—with a polluter-friendly Congress at his side—he’ll likely do everything he can to dismantle our fundamental right to a healthy environment. The Capitol Watch blog series will shine a light on these political attacks from Congress and the Trump administration, as well as the work of Earthjustice and our allies to hold them accountable.
Trip Van Noppen served as Earthjustice’s president from 2008 until he retired in 2018. A North Carolina native, Trip said of his experience: “Serving as the steward of Earthjustice for the last decade has been the greatest honor of my life.”
Established in 1989, Earthjustice's Policy & Legislation team works with champions in Congress to craft legislation that supports and extends our legal gains.