President Donald Trump is set to meet with more than 1,000 local residents and businesses who live near his golf course in Pittsburgh on Wednesday to discuss clean water and climate change, but some are worried that Trump will not be able to bring any major changes.
The president has vowed to get rid of coal in his proposed 2018 budget, but his comments on Wednesday have already sparked questions about how he will manage the federal government’s role in the Great Lakes.
At least two members of the Great Lake Watershed Coalition (GLC), a group of water protection groups that is backing Trump’s effort to restore the Great Blue Heron to its natural habitat, said they fear that Trump is not going to be able meet their demands.
“The message to the people in our community is that we are not going anywhere,” said David Fettig, the president of the group, a coalition of environmental, wildlife, and fishing organizations.
Fettig said Trump’s comments about the Great White North on Wednesday were the “final straw.”
“If he is really going to do something on clean water,” he said, “he needs to take the gloves off.”
The Great Lakes Restoration Act of 2012, signed into law by President Barack Obama in late March, aims to protect the lakes from the threat of pollution and to make sure the watersheds they sustain remain pristine.
Trump has proposed an 11-percent cut to the Great Waters Restoration Fund, a separate federal program that is dedicated to protecting the lakes and the wetlands that support them.
In a tweet, Trump suggested the Great Greenbelt will soon be “under attack,” a reference to the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, a set of laws aimed at regulating pollution that are set to expire at the end of June.
The NEPA has been used by many presidents to dismantle environmental laws in recent years.
In the past, it was used to repeal the Clean Air Act, an Obama-era rule that protects the public from harmful pollutants.
Trump has vowed that his proposed budget will be the “largest” ever for the Great Basin, and he has said that if elected, he will seek to withdraw the Great River Restoration Act, a major environmental protection law that was passed in 1970 and is also scheduled to expire in June.
Trump is slated to meet Wednesday with more 300 people from around the Great Plains.