We also see the impact of President Trump’s deregulatory actions on the nation’s air and water. Air pollution in the United States increased in 2017 and 2018, reversing 20 years of steady improvements in air quality.  This is particularly troubling as the nation now grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging research shows higher rates of COVID-19 fatalities in counties where residents have been chronically exposed to hazardous air pollutants.  Additionally, the impacts of harmful air pollution highlight the shameful state of environmental justice in the United States, as communities of color are more likely to be exposed to pollution and in turn develop health conditions that have made them more vulnerable to COVID-19.  In particular, Black and Hispanic communities have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic with shamefully high rates of infection and death. 
These leadership failures by the Trump administration have exacerbated ongoing interconnected crises: economic inequality, racial inequality, and climate change. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “the bottom 90% of the American workforce has seen their pay shrink radically as a share of total income,” from 58% in 1979 to 47% in 2015. That is a loss of almost $11,000 per household, or $1.35 trillion in additional labor income.  There is a direct correlation with the decrease of worker power over this time, as the share of workers in a union fell from 24% in 1979 to under 11% now. 
RACIAL JUSTICE FOCUS: Trump's Use of Defense Protection Act to Send Meatpacking Workers Back to Unsafe Conditions Overwhelmingly Impacted Workers of Color
The Defense Production Act (DPA) dates back to the 1950s and gives the president power to require a business to prioritize the productions of goods and materials needed in a time of crisis. Early in the pandemic it became clear that not only did the nation not have the PPE needed to keep frontline workers safe, but that the domestic supply chain had been neglected to the point that getting that PPE would not be easy. 
President Trump has neglected to use his authority under the DPA to produce the critical materials needed to keep workers safe, but he has invoked the DPA once during the pandemic. With COVID-19 tearing through the nation’s meatpacking plants and several plants reporting hundreds of cases, President Trump invoked the DPA to force them to stay open. As of September 11, at least 203 meatpackers had died of COVID-19 and 42,534 workers had been diagnosed with the virus. 
Ethnic minorities make up 61% of meatpackers in the United States. According to a CDC report looking into COVID-19’s impacts on the meatpacking industry, nearly 90% of the meatpackers that have been diagnosed with COVID-19 were racial or ethnic minorities. Hispanic workers made up 56% of coronavirus cases while Black workers accounted for 19% and Asian workers 12%. Although white workers make up 39% of the overall workforce they accounted for only 13% of the cases. 
Throughout the crisis at meatpacking plants, several public officials have taken to blaming minority members themselves for the outbreaks and not the poor working conditions that have existing in meatpacking plants long before the pandemic.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar defended Donald Trump’s decision to use the Defense Production Act to force meatpacking plants to remain open by stating that he believes infected employees were being exposed to the virus in their communities and bringing it into processing plants as opposed to being exposed to the virus in the plants themselves.  Similarly, Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, stated during a hearing that an outbreak in Brown County, Wisconsin was “due to the meatpacking” not “just the regular folks in Brown County.”  Also in Wisconsin, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos stated that “it's because of a large immigrant population where, you know, it's just a difference in culture where people are living much closer and working much closer." 
RACIAL JUSTICE FOCUS: Attacks on Wages Disproportionately Impact Workers of Color
Attacks on workers’ wages are felt even more acutely by Black workers, who are already paid less than white workers. Black workers are paid on average 73 cents to the dollar compared to white workers. The wage gap persists regardless of education, and even with advanced degrees Black workers make far less than white workers at the same level. While the poverty rate for white Americans sits at about 8.1%, for Black households it’s 20.7%.
This injustice also exists for Hispanic workers: In 2015, Hispanic men earned 69% of white men’s earnings and controlling for education, Hispanic made an average of $26 an hour compared to white men at $32 an hour. 
2016 Electronic Recordkeeping Rule
The Obama administration’s original 2016 Electronic Recordkeeping Rule proposed a number of new recordkeeping requirements, updating existing outdated rules. The existing rules at the time required employers in most industries with more than ten employees to keep records of all work-related injuries and illnesses. Under the 2016 Electronic Recordkeeping Rule, larger employers—those with more than 250 employees—and many businesses in high risk industries would have been required to electronically submit to OSHA their full employee work-related illness and injury logs along with supplementary incident reports. With the rollback of the rule, OSHA can now only request full employee work-related illness and injury logs or view them at the workplace, as only the summaries are available electronically. This severely hinders the ability of OSHA to analyze and compare the logs.
The intent of this rule was to provide much greater transparency into worker safety in a variety of ways. The Obama administration argued that this data access would improve working conditions by preventing workplaces injuries and illnesses; provide timely data access to employees themselves, customers, researchers, and more; and promote “complete and accurate reporting of work-related injuries and illnesses.” 
The Trump administration’s OSHA moved to rescind many of the requirements included in the 2016 Rule. The original rule was to be phased in during 2017 and 2018, but OSHA delayed enforcement until they promulgated the new rule, effective February 2019.  This new rule reverts many of the illness and injury recordkeeping requirements back to the previous standards. The 2019 Rule abolishes the electronic reporting requirements for businesses with 250 or more employees. They are still required to maintain these records on-site, and OSHA can view them at the worksite, but these employers are now only required to electronically submit an annual summary of work-related injuries and illnesses with far less detail.
This makes it harder for federal and state agencies, unions, and the public health community to identify and work to solve occupational safety and health problems.
Endangering Communities, Air, and Water
The Trump administration has proudly publicized its deregulatory agenda on the environment, rolling back safeguard after safeguard designed to keep the nation’s air and water clean and to protect the health and wellbeing of Americans. As of July 2020, the administration had completed or was in the process of completing 100 rollbacks of the rules that protect the environmental causes of human health problems. 
The Clean Water Rule sought to clarify the definition, by stating that the “waters of the United States” extended beyond navigable waters and their permanent tributaries, requiring protection to upstream bodies like headwaters and wetlands, as these waters affect the health of ground water and navigable waters downstream. Backed up by guidance from the scientific community, the Clean Water Rule confirms and solidifies the broad interpretation of “waters of the United States” and removes gray areas and loopholes. 
RACIAL JUSTICE FOCUS: Water Systems in Communities of Color More Likely to Be Contaminated
Lead contamination is a serious health problem. The health effects of lead exposure are powerful and permanent. Lead harms the brain and nervous system and if exposure occurs during fetal development or infancy, it can decrease IQ, diminish academic abilities, and increase the occurrence of attention deficits and problem behaviors.
There is no safe blood lead level and, even in very small quantities, lead can affect the developing brain and central nervous systems of children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Children living at or below the federal poverty level and those who live in older housing are at greatest risk.”  Because systemic racism has left more than 20% of the Black population in poverty, Black children are at greater risk of elevated blood lead levels than white children.
The Trump EPA has already made deadly decisions on many chemicals that are proven to be dangerous. For example, the EPA under Obama proposed a ban on all uses of methylene chloride—a highly dangerous chemical used in paint strippers—in early 2017. In 2019, the Trump EPA implemented a watered-down version of this proposal, banning the use of methylene chloride in retail use but still allowing commercial use.  Because workers—including auto mechanics, building renovators and construction workers, and industrial laborers—comprise the majority of deaths and exposures to methylene chloride, they will continue to be exposed to the highly dangerous chemical and have few protections due to the commercial exemptions in the rule.  To allow commercial use of this deadly chemical. The Trump EPA ignored language in the Lautenberg Act that requires protection of workers as a vulnerable population.
A final rule was not released until March 2020 after reports that the administration was struggling to make the math work in their favor, creating additional doubt around the facts upon which this rulemaking was developed.  The final rule abandoned the administrations’ initial plan to flat line the fuel economy requirements and instead mandates a 1.5% increase in fuel economy that was not only a less ambitious target that the 5% in the previous clean car standards but far short of what the industry was already on track to achieve.  The final rule too would result in tens of thousands of lost jobs and tens of billions in lost manufacturing investment across the country.
Methane leaks are an environmental disaster as the greenhouse gas is many times more potent that carbon dioxide in causing climate change whereas the mitigation of methane can be an economic opportunity. BlueGreen Alliance research has found that implementing the cost-effective technologies and practices that have already been developed to reduce methane in the oil and gas sector could create and sustain an estimated 50,000 jobs in the United States over the next decade in a variety of sectors—including manufacturing.