Arkansas governor wonders why his state is flooding as he celebrates weakened environmental laws

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) accidentally demonstrated why short-term thinking may not even be great in the short term.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) at the 2016 Republican National Convention
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) at the 2016 Republican National Convention. (Photo credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Arkansas, like much of the country, is currently experiencing massive damaging floods. Its governor, Republican Asa Hutchinson, joined Fox News on Tuesday to lament the huge damage the deluge has caused — moments after praising the Trump administration’s environmental deregulation.

Hutchinson — who has a long record of opposing almost all climate and environmental protections — was first asked whether President Donald Trump deserves credit for his state’s improving economy. He responded that it was Trump’s environmental deregulation that has helped fuel Arkansas’ growth.

“There has been a totally different approach to the economy under President Trump: the regulations have been reduced,” Hutchinson explained approvingly. “He’s given more authority back to the states, in terms of environmental regulations. We can protect our environment. It doesn’t have to all come from Washington.”

Hutchinson ran for office in 2014 vowing to fight against the Obama administration’s clean power plant requirements, which aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30% by 2030. 


Moments later, Hutchinson accidentally pointed out the short-term and long-term ramifications of the administration’s let-the-polluters-pollute approach. His state, he noted, is suffering from “very serious” flooding crisis.

“We’re having the record floodwaters coming down the Arkansas river, much from rain in happening in Oklahoma. They expect more,” Hutchinson observed. He then explained that it was harming Arkansas already.

“We’re having to close certain interstates, so it interrupts travel,” he said. “… We are having hundreds and hundreds of homes having to be evacuated, that [are] gonna be flooded.”

Hutchinson has already declared a state of emergency and authorized $100,000 in emergency response funds.

By rolling back environmental protections and efforts to tackle climate change, the Trump administration — and Hutchinson’s own actions — have helped to fuel climate change’s impacts, such as flooding.


Last year’s National Climate Assessment released by Trump’s own government warned that climate change will cause more flooding in certain areas, including the southeast region of the United States where Arkansas is located. Increased rainfall events are already causing increased inland flooding the assessment stated.

“Extreme rainfall events have increased in frequency and intensity in the Southeast, and there is high confidence they will continue to increase in the future,” it read.