Until December 2, 1970, there was no Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That happens to be the date that controversial Republican President Richard Nixon signed the executive order that founded it. The fact that the next Republican President of the United States is set to destroy, dismantle, or at least severely weaken the EPA is deeply ironic – something not lost on the former head of the agency.
Christine Whitman, the EPA chief under George W Bush and a Republican herself, pointed out that “conservation is inherently conservative,” adding that she “hopes to be proven wrong by Mr Trump, but you have so many multi-millionaires from the oil industry in his cabinet.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, she said: “I find it very worrisome that there seems to be a disdain for the science on protecting the environment.” Whitman told reporters that she fears for the future of her grandchildren.
“I worry terribly for the future of my family and families round the world because Mother Nature has never observed geopolitical boundaries,” she added. “To walk away from something where you have 97% of scientists saying this is occurring and people have an impact on it … it's gotten to the point where we've got to try to slow it down if we're going to survive it.”
Whitman may be a Republican – a party known today for its anti-environmental stance – but she rarely followed party lines when it came to scientific discourse. In fact, it was the Bush administration’s insistence that the EPA ease air pollution restrictions back in 2003 that led to her resignation.
The former Governor of New Jersey is demonstrably not a fan of Trump either, having penned several op-eds explaining why Clinton was her choice for the 45th President. Clearly, when it comes to the environment, the two will likely never see eye to eye.