President Trump wants to impose tariffs on imported steel. Despite threats by the rest of the G-20 to enter into a transatlantic trade war in response, Trump remains undeterred, yet another reminder that Trump’s proposal represents a shortsighted handout for the domestic steel industry that will only end up harming the American economy. Rather than hiding behind specious national security arguments to justify protectionism, Trump should be up-front about what steel tariffs represent: another unnecessary tax on the American consumer.
The Trump administration’s main rationale for steel tariffs has been that the United States’s steel industry is too weak to provide raw materials for the American military.
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Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that genetically modified foods are safe for human consumption, Americans are generally distrustful of all types of GMOs. An ABC poll from last year found that more than half of Americans believe that GMO foods are unsafe. However, the relative lack of outrage over the forthcoming release of “non-browning” genetically modified apples could mean public perception of GMOs may be changing. This would be an important step towards reducing food waste, fighting global malnutrition, and helping the environment.
If American public opinion is finally turning against anti-GMO rhetoric, it is about time. There is no scientific debate about the safety of genetically modified foods; a recent Pew Research poll even found a greater scientific consensus for GMO safety than anthropogenic climate change. And as Mark Lynas of the Cornell Alliance for Science has pointed out, many of the same tactics used by climate change deniers are mirrored by the anti-GMO movement.
The case of these genetically modified apples is hardly any different. The apples take much longer (about three weeks) to oxidize or turn brown after being exposed to the open air. By “silencing” a chemical that plays no role in apples today, scientists were able to reduce the browning effect of oxidization while retaining safety and nutritiousness.
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Earlier this week, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to block the final easement needed for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. Tribal groups and environmentalists celebrated the federal government’s decision to reject the permit, claiming that the pipeline threatens tribal land and the environment. Unfortunately, the easement was blocked for reasons that are motivated by political pressure. The Army Corps’s decision has little to do with scientific evaluations or concern for economic benefits, providing further evidence of the extreme politicization in the federal regulatory process.
In its 2015 environmental assessment, the Army Corps specifically addressed the concerns surrounding the portion of the pipeline that would cross under Lake Oahe. The Army Corps rejected these concerns, noting Dakota Access’s effort to include safety features that would “minimize the risk of spills and reduce or remediate any potential damages.” The environmental assessment concluded that there was such a minimal effect on the environment that there was not even a need to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement.
One will note that the Army Corps’s sudden reversal on this is based on no new evidence at all.
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