According to Article 2, Section 4 of the United States Constitution, “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” Most of the past impeachment inquiries sound like blatant crimes, but what if a president or his/her administration is doing something that is perfectly legal, but detrimental to the lives of citizens? I wrote an article in the past about how both the Republicans and Democrats must see the repeal of various environmental regulations, laws and the exit of the United States from the Paris Agreement as an offense.
Removing regulations from companies regarding environmental concerns is not like any other deregulation process. With the current predictions of the consequences of the climate crisis, our country and the world can not afford to put ourselves at any more risk than it is already experiencing. Some examples of the actions of Trump administration include creating stronger restrictions on which waterways are protected under the Clean Water Act, halting compliance with 2015 Steam Electric Effluent Limitations Guidelines (ELG) Rule that attempts to lessen toxic water pollution from coal plants and eliminating guidelines of the Clean Power Plan, which develops energy solutions alternative to fossil fuels. These are only some of the cases that illustrate this administration’s favor of the business malpractices that are harming the Earth. These may solve short-term issues of corporations, leading them to support Trump’s current term, campaign and future re-election, but the future concerns of this presidency are about the short term, and backing your campaign with “Make America Great Again” is only contradictory when companies can dump waste as they please and cleaner energy options are not encouraged. In the long run, we’ll look at this administration as one that only facilitated the harm that the baby boomers and even the generations before them inflicted upon the United States and the planet. I think the country was hardly “great” when people could barely breathe from pollution once the country became more industrialized, or when not enough Americans have clean water to drink in a nation that is supposed to be overdeveloped.
Issues like the environment should be considered with the same regard as national security. Just as the military is responsible for fighting off enemies that threaten our livelihood and values, environmental regulations prevent the risk of exposure to harmful toxins and pollutants that are ultimately threatening our lives, too. Trump’s presidency is overcast with financial goals, and environmental regulations are inhibiting them from being accomplished in his administration’s eyes. Trump’s ultimate decision for the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement alone was a blatant act against cooperation with our allies. It may not seem as something as extreme as leaving NATO, but this will also have lasting consequences for decades.
In addition, for when a later president or administration would like to get serious about the issue and rejoin the Paris Agreement, there might be resistance from existing members to trust our sentiments toward fixing environmental problems. Brazil has been under the microscope for its lack of protection of the Amazon rainforest with deforestation and purposeful forest fires to create land for cattle grazing. While much of the world was outraged at President Jair Bolsonaro for his disregard of such a prominent global carbon resource, the United States could very well also be blamed for future removals of regulations and for being an example of a rich, large country without environmental responsibility that other countries’ might follow to compete with us financially. While I would discourage complete removal from office due to these changes in ecological policy, there should be some threshold of to what extent the president and administration can lift these rules.