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Attacking the EPA Undermines Our Health and Safety
Kathy Attar, MPH
October 23, 2017
What happens when we dismantle the agency taxed with safeguarding our air, water and climate? The health of our communities suffers.
Congress wants to cut funding by over 25% for most of EPA's core programs: air, water, chemicals, and compliance. This would severely injure EPA as an effective institution, leaving it unable to fulfill the goals of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and other fundamental statutes that protect our nation's air, water, and land.
- Dismantling the EPA's ability to enforce clean air rules makes it harder to prevent pollution-related diseases, which are on the rise. In the past decade, the number of people with asthma in the U.S. grew by nearly 15%.
- Blocking EPA scientists from undertaking climate change research may weaken the preparedness of communities facing rising sea levels and extreme weather events like the hurricanes that devastated Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico this fall.
- Cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from EPA shows an utter disdain for EPA's main programs—cleaning the air and cleaning up Superfund sites—the very ones the administration asserts it wants to focus on.
The House of Representative's proposed budget also includes a variety of policy riders that are troubling, like delaying for years the clean-up of harmful ozone in cities and counties across the U.S. Another would allow EPA to withdraw the "Waters of the US" rule without going through public notice and comment as required by law. This would create a dangerous precedent that would other protective rules as well.
At a time where the U.S. and the world need stronger environmental protections, research and action to clean up pollution, the current U.S. administration and Congress appear to be heading in the opposite and deadly direction.
The Lancet just published a report stating that exposure to polluted air, water and soil caused nine million premature deaths in 2015—more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Urge Congress to support a budget for the EPA that maintains or increases funding for clean air, clean water and climate protection programs.
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