The Wisconsin Experiment

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In the opening months of the Trump administration, we have seen concerted attacks on science, environment, and democracy. Climate change denier Scott Pruitt was put in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency, although he could not name a single regulation he favors. Congress revoked rules against dumping mining waste in streams, and the president began rolling back Obama-era climate actions. The draft federal budget includes deep cuts to the EPA, NOAA, and public lands agencies, slashing more than 50 programs, including environmental justice. 1 If dismantling environmental law is the first step toward what White House strategist Steve Bannon calls “the deconstruction of the administrative state,” 2 that’s because it touches everything Trump holds in contempt: empirical evidence, international cooperation, democratic process, the rights of minorities, the future itself.

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Portions of this article are adapted from Sustaining Lake Superior: An Extraordinary Lake in a Changing World, by Nancy Langston, to be published by Yale University Press in October 2017. Copyright © 2017 by Nancy Langston. Excerpted by permission of Yale University Press.

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Places Journal