Beyond the pristine streets by the White House, Donald Trump’s retreat on the environment is unfolding into a dark disaster.
Despite withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, loosening restrictions on air pollutions and rolling back clean water protection, last month he called himself “a great environmentalist”.
While Joe Biden, his opponent in the presidential race, has set out an ambitious green energy plan, even before his election in 2016, Trump has focused on fuels the rest of the planet is turning their backs on.
Wearing a miners hat, the then-Republican candidate promised to open up mines.
“If they didn’t have ridiculous regulations that put you out of business and make it impossible for you to compete, I’m going to take that off,” he said. “You are going to be proud of me.”
Two years later at his State of Union address, he boasted: “We’ve ended the war on American energy and we’ve ended the war on beautiful, clean coal. We are now very proudly an exporter of energy to the world.”
His promises buoyed the thousands of miners who had been left on the unemployment slag heap.
But four years on thousands continue to lose their jobs as his pledge goes up in smoke, none more so than in Gillette, Wyoming.
Here in America’s “energy capital of the nation”, not everyone is on board the Trump train.
For Karen Turner and her husband LJ, the US leader’s assault on the environment is as toxic as the land they have farmed since the world’s biggest coal mine opened up next door.
“He doesn’t care,” gran-of-six Karen says. “Most of us do worry about what kind of a world we’re leaving our grandchildren. Getting off of fossil fuels is vital to help global warming. We should have been doing this 20 years ago.
“His assault is worse than it was all those years ago. He’s infuriating and stupid.”
The Turners are among a handful of Democrats in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, which they describe as “the reddest state of the red States”.
But while the town has benefited from the prosperity mines have provided, many in the Equality State have suffered more.
The Turners have owned their ranch for more than a century, but ever since the North Antelope Rochelle coal mine opened in 1983, it has brought nothing but dark times. By annual output in tons per acre, it is the world’s biggest coal mine.
The second largest is Arch Coal’s Black Thunder mine, 10 miles to the north.
Trains 1.5 miles long pull out loaded with 15,000 tonnes of coal. But judging by the hundreds of locomotives that stand idle between Rozet and Gillette the fall in demand is there to see.
Oil exploration that began in the late 40s polluted air and waterways, uranium mines then followed before coal mines moved in.
Tens of thousands of acres have been left scarred from the excavations as several companies have been forced to take bankruptcy. Locals are forced to contend with fracking wells now too.
The Turners says their livelihoods have been hit. “Anytime we take cattle over there [the land once mined], the calves are smaller,” Karen explains.
“Sometimes we’d lose eight or ten calves weaning. That didn’t happen before the mines opened up.”
Many of Gillette’s residents are today conflicted by the coal industry. Kelci Luken says: “I was raised by a mother who happened to be a coal miner. She worked tirelessly to ensure we were provided for.
“I have the utmost respect for those who give their lives to such a hard job.
“My mother raised my brother and me to leave things better than we found it whether that meant playing at our friend’s house, our beautiful Wyoming, or our beloved Mother Earth.
“I cannot for the life of me understand why Trump has such a vendetta against clean energy.
“Renewables are the future. The future is not here in my coal town. We need our jobs, but while we are transitioning why can’t we transition in the cleanest way possible?
“President Trump has ridiculed clean energy. He’s fuelled the doubt of climate change. Whether you believe climate change is man-made, or a cycle of the earth, it is happening.”
Speaking at a Florida rally last month Trump attempted to recast his record by endorsing a 10-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling off the Sunshine State, Georgia and South Carolina coastlines.
The area has been battered by hurricanes and flooding.
But it was he who had proposed lifting the ban, and his rewrite discards his rollback of regulations.
Trump has weakened legislation for drilling in federal waters, opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas firms and moved to repeal about 100 environmental regulations.
His attacks on non-polluting and renewable energy supplies have sparked ridicule in the US.
Whether it be calling climate change a “hoax” or saying noise from wind turbines – he calls them windmills – causes cancer, he has repeatedly dismissed science.
His views have created new enemies, including his 17-year-old nemesis Greta Thunberg and global movement Extinction Rebellion.
But in his bid to become President, Biden is offering America a different future and the rest of the world too.
Barack Obama’s former Vice President has stated “there is no greater challenge” than climate change.
“I want young climate activists, young people everywhere, to know: I see you. I hear you. I understand the urgency, and together we can get this done,” said the 77-year-old Democrat, who has announced a £1.56trillion plan to combat climate change.
It came after his plans to make America carbon neutral by 2050 was given an “F’ rating, by the youth-led Sunrise Movement.
If elected, he plans to implement a carbon-free electric power grid by 2035, provide cities with a population of 100,000 or more with zero-emissions public transport and create one million jobs in the auto industry by incentivising the switch to electric power.
He also plans to upgrade four million buildings and make two million homes more energy efficient.
Gillette teenager, Mike Enion, who at 18 can vote, said many of his friends felt the environment was “at the very top of their list” of issues.
“It is very tough for people in my town,” he said. “My grandfather was a miner, and even he now realises we cannot go on living as we are.
“Trump and Biden would be foolish to underestimate young people.
“Gone are the days when it was the left versus the right. Now it seems it’s the truth versus the lies.”