The courts are stopping bad ideas from the federal government

The Trump Administration has been busy rolling back environmental protections. Luckily, courts are ruling many of these rollbacks don't follow the science or the law.

Nathan Murphy

We’ve been raising the alarm for some time now about the current federal administration promulgating rules that reverse often decades of environmental protections for our families and wildlife. I testified on behalf of Environment Michigan members in opposition to rolling back car emission standards in the fall of 2018, and I’ve continued to build awareness of more issues like the Trump administration gutting protections for headland streams and wetlands. All told, the Trump administration has rolled back, or is in the process of rolling back, 100 different sets of regulations that protect our water, air, green spaces, and wildlife.

One of the things we keep pointing out again and again with the new rules is they don’t make sense given the science or the way a given law has been enforced, often for decades. The science shows the new rules would hurt our families, our communities, and our environment. 

One positive in all this is the courts are noticing the same thing, and ruling against the new rules again and again. A recent article in the Washington Post highlights a federal judge’s opinion invalidating a rule change that would’ve threatened countless birds protected under the 100 year old Migratory Bird Treaty Act. This was one of our first environmental protection laws and protects birds from our state bird the American Robin to bald eagles.

I won’t go into details, because the article explains it all, but one of the things to note is halfway down the article it lists some of the numerous losses the Trump Administration has faced in the courts as judges have recognized how ill-conceived the new rules would be if put into practice. For example, “In the weeks leading up to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act rule change in 2018, the administration lost three court cases in three consecutive days.”

This is a good example of why we fight even when it seems the odds are stacked against us. There are many paths to protecting our water and air, and our decades-long experience helps us know when and where to push to get things done. 


Nathan Murphy

staff | TPIN

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