U.S. Pres. Donald Trump is perhaps biting more than he can chew judging from the way he is up against the wall as far as environmental lawsuits are concerned. It is a telling commentary on Trump’s inability to judge the mood of the moment when his administration has attracted more lawsuits from California in the first two years of Trump’s presidency than from Texas during the two terms of Pres. Barack Obama. Trump may have overdone his Obama bashing spree.
The environmental lawsuit issues Trump is facing litigated are secular covering a wide spectrum of issues from pesticides, royalties from extracting natural resources, air pollution, issuing illegal rules and energy efficiencies.
Even a cursory glance at the lawsuits indicates that Trump is at loggerheads with many influential groups and states. California has as many as 49 lawsuits against Trump and his administration out of which 24 are from the agencies including Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Departments. For example, you can’t assume anymore that the air you breathe, the products you use, and the water you drink are all safe, as pointed out by MG Law.
Why would a president attract lawsuits literally by the dozens and with increasing regularity? There are many reasons for these lawsuits and some of them could be ingrained in the impetuosity of Trump spilling over to his administration.
Some of the actions by Trump and his administration that have led to the spate of lawsuits include the violation of Clean Air Act, violation of Clean Power Plan, violation of National Environmental Policy Act, 1970, violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 1946 and taking actions benign to industry such as rewriting, repealing and delaying rules without taking into consideration the views of environmental groups.
Various analysts covering numerous environmental issues reason that Trump’s haste to alter regulations coupled with his disregard for procedures bordering on contempt are among the prime reasons for the flood of lawsuits. It helps no one, least of all Trump, that there is a lack of application of thought in proposing new regulations without any support in the form of evidence to back up the proposals.
The proof of poor planning by the administration is in the way the judgments have been handed out. Among the Californian lawsuits decided 10 of them have gone the state’s way and 5 have been withdrawn by the Trump administration before the court could decide. A study by the New York University School of Law determined that out of 39 cases 37 were lost by the Trump administration.
True to his personality (“truly unique and off-the-charts public persona,” according to a study conducted on 103 political leaders including 20 of Trump’s contemporary populist leaders), Trump exhibited his quirkiness by going half-cocked with the sole purpose of opposing anything his predecessor did. Further, the administration has failed to provide reasons for any suggested changes, which is a legal requirement.
It is one thing to be a businessman and get his way through to benefit his business interests but it is a different kettle of fish when it comes to getting his way through the maze of bureaucracy. He has on various forums always professed that he is a businessman President and he would use his business acumen to run his presidency.
Unfortunately for Trump, his bulldozing of bureaucracy could get him thus far and no further as he failed to impress the judiciary. His failure to stem the increasing number of environmental lawsuits itself is a big blow to his administrative skills and it is no wonder that it drew this caustic comment from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“The Oval Office is really not a place for on-the-job training. President Trump should have at least read the instruction manual he inherited when he assumed the Presidency, in particular, the chapter on respecting the Rule of Law.”
Two courts have already upheld California’s emissions standards, rejecting the argument the Trump Administration resurrects to justify its misguided Preemption Rule.
The Oval Office is really not a place for on-the-job training.
Mr. President, we’ll see you in court. pic.twitter.com/e9djeIMBIP
— Xavier Becerra (@AGBecerra) September 20, 2019
Featured image Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic, via Flickr