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How Trump’s Nomination Jeopardizes Food, Water, and Climate

With Trump effectively becoming the Republicans' presidential candidate, the stakes for a livable future have never been higher.

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In February, President Joe Biden announced a temporary pause on the country’s buildout of liquefied natural gas. After approving the Willow drilling project and the resulting outrage nationwide, Biden is finally starting to take the hint. We cannot and will not accept the status quo on fossil fuels. 

Of course, former President Donald Trump couldn’t let the moment pass without reminding us of the threat he poses to our planet. The next day, he announced that he would “approve the export terminals on [his] first day back.” 

“We will drill, baby, drill,” he crowed. 

After yesterday’s Super Tuesday primaries, Trump effectively secured the Republican nomination for president — raising the stakes for our livable future.

We know Trump’s track record and his stance on our issues. It isn’t pretty. In 2024, we face a fork in the road: a path to more progress toward a livable future, or doors slammed shut in our faces. Here’s exactly what’s at stake.

1. Threatening the Green Energy Transition We Need

Well before the LNG export terminal boom made headlines, Trump had already staked out a position on transporting the fuel by rail. In 2020, he permitted the highly flammable fuel to be shipped on “bomb trains” without a special permit, threatening rail-side communities across the country. (Biden suspended the rule, but still needs to ban bomb trains completely.)

This is just one drop in the ocean of Trump’s terrible response to climate. He’s called climate concerns “nonsense” and downplayed his own administration’s research.

And, early on in his presidency, Trump pulled us out of the Paris Agreement, the foremost international effort on climate change. Thankfully, Biden re-engaged with these efforts.

This year, the U.S. attended the COP28 climate conference to continue negotiating international climate action. Though the resulting deal didn’t go nearly far enough, it did include something unprecedented — for the first time, COP included language for countries to “transition away” from fossil fuels. Just as we’re starting to make progress on the international front, a second Trump administration would almost certainly walk it back.

That’s not the only thing it would walk back. Trump would undo as much of our progress as he can. According to advisors and senior campaign officials, the former president intends to slash funds to clean energy programs and repeal regulations on the oil and gas industry. He would also cut spending and staff to government agencies key to food, water, and climate protections.

2. Siding with Profit Over People in Our Food System

Megacorporations dominate many corners of our economy, especially our food system, with disastrous consequences. Take, for example, the meat industry. The four biggest meatpackers process 85% of all U.S. beef cattle. Because of their size and power, monopoly corporations get away with a lot of bad behavior, like dangerous working conditions. Rather than rein them in, Trump paved the way for more abuses.

For one, the administration approved three massive mergers for seed and agrochemical giants. Trump’s USDA also greenlit faster inspections on hog lines and faster line speeds at poultry plants. The former led to more contamination violations in hog slaughter plants; the latter threatened even more injuries in an industry already notorious for its health and safety risks.

Biden not only withdrew the bad line-speed rules — he’s also tackling our country’s poisonous monopoly problem at the root. His administration (following organizations including Food & Water Action) sounded the alarm on how meatpackers use their market power to raise prices and profits. At the expense of both families and farmers, meat giants have seen skyrocketing profits since the start of the pandemic.

In 2021, Biden ushered in the biggest crackdown on monopolies in decades. That included directing the USDA to issue new rules to protect farmers and ranchers against corporate abuses. He also urged the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to improve merger guidelines, which guide agency evaluations on the risks of mergers and whether they’ll step in to stop them.

A second Trump term jeopardizes this progress. The former president seemed only interested in tackling monopolies if it involved companies he had beef with. A second Biden term would steady the course on this work, which is essential to the health and economic well-being of families, workers, and farmers.

3. Allowing More Toxic Chemicals and Dangerous Water Water Pollution

The U.S. has a massive toxic chemical problem. For too long, our government has allowed corporations to make and sell products that pollute our water and endanger our health. The EPA is supposed to protect us from these harms — but Trump de-fanged the agency throughout his presidency.

The administration weakened regulations and enforcement for toxic chemicals and paved the way for new ones to enter the market. It halted bans for chemicals the EPA had already found dangerous. According to whistleblowers, Trump’s EPA bent over backward to accommodate corporations that want to profit from their toxic products as soon as possible. 

In contrast, Biden has taken major strides in protecting our health and drinking water. For instance, his EPA finalized new rules for regulating PFAS forever chemicals and proposed new lead-in-water rules.

For years, community activists and groups like Food & Water Action have demanded more protective policies. While these rules aren’t strong enough and we still have a long way to go, Biden has taken unprecedented steps in the right direction.

We Need to Defend Our Livable Future at the Polls

Over the past few years, we have won incredible victories that lay the groundwork for securing a livable future for all. We know we have the power to continue making huge strides. But if Trump returns to office, our work will become much harder. We can expect some massive steps backward that will further jeopardize our livable future.

This is underscored by the fact that Trump has sunk deep into the pockets of polluting corporations. The oil and gas industry is one of the top donors to the former president’s campaign. He pocketed $7.37 million last year from Big Oil — 10 times more than Biden. Trump also took in triple the amount of donations from agribusiness compared to Biden.

Though Biden has not come close to taking the action required to adequately address the climate emergency, we have made some progress with the potential for more, bolder action in a second term. While Trump can more easily ignore us, Biden can’t — he’s accountable to us, his base.

This year’s LNG pause showed that we can and do move the President to act. We’d lose that power with Trump behind the wheel.

That’s why Food & Water Action is going all-in on get-out-the-vote ahead of November. We know how to mobilize folks across the country to vote on the issues that matter to them. It’s gotten us amazing wins, and we’re poised to win more this year. But we need your help. 

Help us fight for our livable future and keep Trump out of the White House!