Student’s Corner

Today we are saying goodbye to Obama, and in my opinion, one of the greatest presidents our country has ever had. As we bid Obama farewell, I wanted to highlight some of the policies he has implemented to preserve our environment. These are just a few of the actions that President Obama took to improve our environment and stop climate change.

  1. The Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015– This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to ban rinse-off cosmetics that contain intentionally-added plastic microbeads beginning on January 1, 2018, and to ban manufacturing of these cosmetics beginning on July 1, 2017. These bans are delayed by one year for cosmetics that are over-the-counter drugs. Microbeads are non-biodegradable plastic beads that bypass water filtration systems. These beads enter oceans, lakes, rivers, etc where they are consumed by marine life.
  2. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion– This expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument,  to encompass more than 490,000 square miles — an area six times its original size when it was created by President George W. Bush in January 2009 protects a much larger population of marine life than before. This expansion protects 7 islands and the organisms that live there. These waters are home to corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, birds, insects and plants found nowhere else on the planet.
  3. Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline– On Nov. 6, 2015, Obama rejected construction of the 1,179-mile pipeline that would run from Canada to the Texas coast. This pipeline would have had enormous environmental impacts, and would have promoted the use of fossil fuels. By rejecting the pipeline, Obama took a stand against the fossil fuel industry and those who support it.
  4. Expanding Hawaii’s Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument — Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, home to more than 7,000 species of wildlife, some of them endangered.  The monument was the Earth’s largest ocean sanctuary when George W. Bush created it in 2006 but over the years it slipped down to 10th, so Obama quadrupled its size. The expansion expanded the existing Marine National Monument by 442,781 square miles, bringing the total protected area of the expanded monument to 582,578 square miles.
  5. Raised fuel efficiency standards– On July 29, 2011, President Obama announced an agreement with 13 major automakers to increase fuel economy from from 29.7 miles per gallon to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025. This program will improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, saving consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.
  6. Clean Power Plan– Obama’s dedication to phasing out fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energy sources was one of Obama’s best environmental plants, in my opinion. However, the plan was very controversial and was put on hold. The goal of the Clean Power Plan, which was first proposed by the EPA in 2014, is to reduce carbon pollution from power plants. The plan set first-ever national limits for mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The policy would also require states to meet specific carbon emission reduction standards based on their particular energy consumption. Reducing carbon emissions is vital to decreasing air pollution and climate change.

Written by Alyssa Lemire, Class of 2017