The GOP’s ‘Concern’ for Jobs Is an Excuse to Wreck the Environment

“BUT JOBS!” That’s the response you’re most likely to hear from a Republican politician when someone mentions protecting the environment.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump gave a speech at the EPA headquarters proudly announcing that he’s striking down many of Obama’s environmental regulations. Repeatedly, he deemphasized the damage this would do to our land, water and air and instead stressed a need to do this to create jobs.

“This is what this is all about,” said Trump. “Bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again!”

In a 10-minute speech, Trump said the word “job” 24 times. Meanwhile, he didn’t utter words like “environment” or “climate” even once.

Of course jobs are important. However, it’s a total fabrication to suggest that Americans need to choose between jobs and the environment. The two are not antithetical to each other; the United States can have a successful economy without destroying the planet.

Research shows us that environmental regulations do not actually cost the U.S. jobs. The Center for Policy Integrity conducted an extensive study and found that while jobs may shift to other sectors or other regions when environmental regulations are passed, the actual net change in the total number of jobs is negligible.

It’s not like Trump is consistent in his concern about American jobs anyway. This is a president who regularly outsourced his business ventures to other countries, then originally nominated a labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, with a reputation for doing the same thing.

Trump sure didn’t seem to care about jobs when he pledged to cut the EPA staff by 20 percent. Plenty of other agencies are also on the chopping block as well, but I guess government jobs don’t count as jobs?

During his speech, Trump made a big show on Tuesday of finally being able to put coal miners back to work. Alas, even coal company CEOs acknowledge that with or without environmental regulations, these coal jobs are not coming back. Coal jobs have actually been steadily declining since the 1980s, long before Obama’s Clean Power Plan went into effect.

We’ve seen it with the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, too. Trump promised that approving the pipelines would lead to the creation of 28,000 jobs, yet that assertion conveniently glosses over the fact that almost all of those positions are related to the construction of the pipelines and therefore temporary. In terms of permanent positions, only about 90 of those jobs will remain in the years ahead.

It’s important to look at the bigger picture economically. American politicians can make sure we rely on fossil fuels much longer than we ought to, but they can’t stop the inevitable transition to clean energy entirely. By stifling renewable energy efforts domestically, the GOP is ensuring other countries in the world will get a jump on this industry and related technologies, leaving us at a disadvantage.

You’d have to be foolish not to see that failing to address climate change threatens U.S. jobs down the road… or maybe, in the case of some Republican leaders, just be loyal enough to billionaire energy tycoons to be willing to turn a blind eye to the long-term prospects.

Those of us who care about the future of the planet need to change this political narrative. Let’s stop letting the Republican establishment so easily equate environmental regulations with employment. It’s not true, and gets used as a convenient smokescreen to allow the GOP to get away with ignoring climate change.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

165 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Gerald L
Gerald L5 months ago

At Brian F. In Canada we have the same problem, the Liberal majority government is more corrupt that the previous Conservatives.

Trans Mountain is 63 years old. Two sections have been De-Commisioned and replaced with new pipe loops. All the old pipeline built when they were still using Steam Engines on the railways must be removed and replaced.

Trudeau approves Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejects one of two ...
www.nationalobserver.com/.../breaking-trudeau-approves-kinder-morgan-pipeline-rej...
Nov 29, 2016 - Trudeau approves Kinder Morgan pipeline, rejects one of two Enbridge ... Morgan's Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline.

Check out the Outside Pipeline Corrosion on Keystone after 4 years in service;

TransCanada shuts down Keystone after oil seeps to surface
By Mike De Souza in News, Energy | April 4th 2016;
http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/04/04/news/transcanada-shuts-down-keystone-after-oil-seeps-surface

TCP who is promoting the Energy East Pipeline Conn/Version Proposal is 60 years old built in 1957 with taxpayers money by the Northern Ontario Crown Pipeline Corporation then leased to TCP upon completeion. Some Line 2 sections built in 1974 are De-Commissioned because new pipe repairs sections will NOT weld to the old pipe.


Your Post: Brian F12 days ago
Annabel Bedini Most progressives including Bernie Sanders agree with me that the democrats have b

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Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

Awful.

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Carl R
Carl R5 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Philippa Powers
Philippa Powers5 months ago

Thanks.

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Dan B
Dan Blossfeld5 months ago

Annabel,
You are right. Thanks you for the dialogue, and good luck in your ventures.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini5 months ago

Dan
I think, don't you, that we have exhausted this topic as well as going way off course regarding the original theme. So I'll sign off saying thanks to you and everyone else (especially Brian F) for the intersting coversation. No doubt we'll meet up again!

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heather g
heather g5 months ago

Americans must surely be despondent....

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld5 months ago

Annabel,
I think your quote is quite accurate (at least in meaning). These types of issues occur only when no one receives a majority of the vote. In these cases, each country has their own method of determining the victor. No, it is not always fair, but all candidates are bound by the established rules.

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Annabel Bedini
Annabel Bedini5 months ago

Dan
What you say is true in direct representation, as in the British system, but not so where there is proportional representation, as in most European countries. The first leads, usually, to a recognisable majority, whether fair or not, and the second leads to inevitable coalition governments which do, however respect the majority vote of the populaton. Someone, maybe Churchill, said something like Democracy is the worst form of government with the exception of all others. (I know I am misquoting but I haven't time to look up the original, sorry. ) There's a lot of truth in this but I still maintain that where only one individual is to be elected, the popular vote should win.

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