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CSU wildlife biology student weighs in on Trump’s environmental policy

In Colorado summer seems to begin in February but winter does not seem to end until June. These radical weather swings may be the result of a bigger problem. The student body, as well as many Americans, stand divided on many political issues. Since the 2017 inauguration of President Trump the future of certain people, groups, government agencies and public programs have become unclear. One student shared some insight into what should be perhaps the highest priority platform. Ben Amerman, a second-year wildlife biology student is concerned about the new administration’s proposals and their potential environmental impact.

Amerman began studying wildlife biology with plans to become a veterinarian. After developing an interest in non-domesticated animals he switched his focus. When President Trump took office many people became afraid, Amerman said. This sparked an interest in the role of his studies in the political field.

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Sophomore Ben Amerman is a wildlife biology major interested in animal rehabilitation and reintroduction. Photo credit: Brooke Buchan

 

The first concern Amerman raised was Trump’s belief that the Environmental Protection Agency can afford certain cuts while the United States cannot afford to lose businesses. Allowing this sort of detriment to the EPA would be “counterproductive because every business needs the environment in one way or another,” Amerman said.

These scale backs to the EPA were proposed by Myron Ebell, the former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team. On Jan. 30 The Washington Post wrote that Ebell’s goal was to remove nearly 2/3 of the EPA’s current employees within four years, citing “regulatory overreach” by the agency. The Washington Post also mentions Ebell’s reputation for supporting “global warning alarmism.”

“People know what we’re doing even if they are a climate denier,” Amerman said. “The Earth isn’t in the best [condition] it could be right now and I don’t think anyone can deny that entirely. Jobs are what everyone thinks about.”

The 2016 Paris Agreement was the next controversy Amerman identified, claiming that Trump has mentioned backing out, which in turn caused upset with China. The Paris Agreement outlines a set of mandates and protocols for countries to track and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Largely because of this agreement countries are working to implement more sustainable practices when it comes to agriculture and harnessing energy. Some have turned to new systems like vertical farming and aquaponics. Colorado State University’s plan to Go Green in 2018 is an example of an entity that is working towards using solely renewable resources such as solar and wind power, Amerman said. This is the future for which he hopes but he is skeptical of the Trump administration’s intent to make these types of changes.

President Trump’s dedication to continuing work on the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines concerns a number of individuals. The construction and continued existence of either of these projects could harm local wildlife populations by disrupting movement and migration patterns and contributing to noise pollution, Amerman said. Beyond that Amerman is truly concerned about the potential for an oil spill, which can be extremely damaging to wildlife and their habitats.

Many of the president’s actions and proposals are of great concern when looking at environmental impact, Amerman said. Still many of Trump’s claims have yet to be acted upon.

“No one really cares about the environment in congress, I feel like,” Amerman said. “Or at least not a lot of them do.”

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