Pallone Takes the Lead in Battling Trump’s Environmental Policies

LONG BRANCH – Friday was one of those “picture perfect days” at the Jersey Shore – bright sun, low humidity, blue sky, rippling waves and a beach crowded with happy people.

But before folks got too giddy, Doug O’Malley of Environment New Jersey had to note that days like this also can turn into “ozone alert days.”

O’Malley may have seemed like an annoying killjoy, but he really wasn’t.

He, along with other environmentalists and elected officials led by Rep. Frank Pallone, (D-Dist 6), gathered Friday afternoon at  a Boardwalk gazebo to sound alarms over the environmental, or rather, what they view as the anti-environmental, policies of the Trump administration.

The fight, said state Sen. Vin Gopal, (D-Dist. 11) is about quality of life and public health.

Or more specifically, making sure cars are as clean as possible.

In August of 2012, then-President Obama enacted standards mandating that all cars and light trucks in the country reach a standard of 54.5 miles-per-gallon by 2025.

But that standard has been under attack by the Trump administration, which claims it threatens jobs and is too costly.

Pallone said he feared that the president may move as early as next week to do away with it.

“This is bad on every level,” Pallone said, although he acknowledged there is little at the moment Democrats can do about it. Republicans control both houses of Congress.

Pallone was asked if there were any “moderate” Republicans who may support the Obama-era emission standards.

“There may be some,” he said wistfully.

In the meantime, “You just have to speak out,” Pallone said.

If the federal government scraps, or more likely, reduces the current 54.5 mpg standard, wouldn’t left-leaning states like California and presumably New Jersey still  be able to maintain the status quo in regard to emissions?


Pallone expressed concern that the administration would also move to do away with state emission standards that conflict with federal law. That would likely mean a  court fight, but Pallone and others said the threat is real.

A series of speakers, including Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club, lambasted the administration’s plans. Tittel, who is always good for an inventive quip, called President Trump the “fossil fool” in the White House.

Pallone and others stressed that there is an economic benefit to higher emission standards. He noted that reducing standards could lead to larger vehicles that are more expensive to buy and to fill with gas. He expressed fear that an increased demand for gas may prompt the Trump administration to push for offshore oil drilling off the entire Atlantic coast.

Both parties in the state traditionally have opposed drilling for oil off the Jersey coast.

For the most part, the small cluster of politicians and environmentalists were largely ignored by those passing by on the crowded Boardwalk, although some stopped briefly to listen.

Not all were supportive.

One woman listened awhile and then as she walked away, yelled, “Make America Great Again.”

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