MIKE MOEN, PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE – IA

January 13, 2021

DES MOINES, Iowa – As calls grow for President Donald Trump’s removal from office over the Capitol riot, other groups say his environmental policies have put the country in peril in a different way.

The current urgency from House Democrats is focused on the 25th Amendment or a second impeachment, but groups that want action on climate change feel the Trump administration has long been unresponsive on environmental issues.

Alex Cornell du Houx, who heads the group Elected Officials to Protect America, said impeachment would prevent Trump from seeking office again and from having influence on protecting air and water quality.

“These policies have everyday, real consequences for people,” he said, “and our elected officials see that happening every day in their constituencies.”

He said a mix of more than 1,300 state and local elected officials are part of his group, focused on addressing climate-related matters. Many Iowa officials point to last summer’s derecho storm as an example of the growing threat of weather disasters. Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency often has defended controversial decisions by saying it was cutting unnecessary regulations and costs.

Other environmental organizations have criticized the administration for bringing in climate-change skeptics to fill top positions, and du Houx said the tone was far different than in previous administrations, including ones led by Republicans.

“Under Reagan, under Bush,” he said. “President Bush had essentially the same thing as a carbon tax, to deal with acid rain.”

He acknowledged that climate-change deniers existed before Trump took office, but said the president’s reputation for spreading disinformation had a negative effect on keeping a bipartisan mindset on climate issues. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to undo some of the environmental decisions of the last four years, including rejoining the Paris climate agreement.

Mike Moen, Public News Service – IA

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