The Trump Administration Has to Fund the EPA

By AMANDA KRAUSE
On March 29, 2017

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, Flickr

In line with the harsh and dangerous policies set in place by Donald Trump since he was sworn into office on Jan. 20, the president of the United States has most recently signed an order to that would remove restrictions on the coal mining industry.

Trump has also proposed a budget that would cut 31 percent of the funding from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The main purpose of this government agency is to, “protect human health and the environment” through writing regulations for environmental laws, researching environmental issues, granting environmental programs and educating the public on environmental affairs.

Throughout the EPA’s history, the agency has made significant impacts on global environmental issues through specific legislation such as the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. They are also largely responsible for eliminating widespread use of the pesticide DDT and clarifying the dangers of secondhand smoke, therefore leading to indoor smoking bans and other similar methods of protection against cigarettes.

With such a track record of accomplishments, it is no surprise that many Americans were outraged by the introduction of Scott Pruitt as President Trump’s pick for administrator of the EPA.

According to the Atlantic, Pruitt has been actively working against projects of the EPA throughout his career.

Pruitt’s personal website labels him as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” He has on multiple occasions sued to block EPA actions, specifically combatting measures attempting to keep air surrounding national parks clear, as well as how much mercury can be released into the ozone through coal plants.

When Pruitt was first put in charge of an agency so vital to environmental safety, many were worried he would be in a position to more successfully block important legislation, as well as directly influence the government to lean in favor of economic over environmental issues.

Now Americans, both scientists and citizens, are less worried about Pruitt’s role in an agency he clearly despises and are instead beginning to fear the EPA will be eliminated altogether.

President Trump is also working  to dismantle all actions and policies to combat climate change put in place by former President Barack Obama.

The multiple executive orders signed by the president so far have been slowly stripping the rights of different groups of citizens. The infamous “Muslim ban” is an Islamophobic action veiled as an attempt to prevent terrorists from entering the country. The nickname, “global gag rule”, was put back in place to scare countries out of educating their women on safe abortions.

These orders, among others, are harmful, sexist and racist. They target individual groups and place them at a bigger disadvantage than most of thesm already are.

As horrible as those orders are, they affect individuals and specific groups. Taking the teeth out of the EPA affects everybody living both inside this country and out.

If the United States of America, one of the leading nations in the world, cannot support environmental protection legislation or sustainability in general, we cannot expect foreign nations to pick up our slack. We cannot hope to make it through four or possibly eight years of an EPA led by Scott Pruitt, or without an EPA at all.

Climate change is not a myth. Weather patterns are changing throughout America and permafrost melting across the world is releasing significant amounts of carbon into the air.

America cannot solve these problems alone. Environmental issues are occurring throughout the world and it will take the work of nations to make even a dent in improving the current state of our climate.

America must be on board to help, and that cannot be achieved with an underfunded or nonexistent Environmental Protection Agency.

akrause@ramapo.edu

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