If we close our eyes and wish really, really hard, the planet will magically heal itself. And all the big, bad polluters will learn the error of their ways and make amends for generations of damage done to our communities.
We’re living in the days where Captain Planet seems like a more reasonable option to protecting the environment, than our own Environmental Protection Agency.
Last week, President Trump proposed a $2 billion budget cut for the EPA, which would reduce funding for the agency by 25 percent. Such a cut would eliminate dozens of key programs and cost the agency about 3,000 jobs, which is one-fifth of the agency’s staff.
In 2016, the EPA had more than 15,300 employees with almost half of its staff working in regional offices across the country. The majority of EPA programs are run by state government agencies that employ environmental protection workers.
Somehow enforcing environmental regulations and ensuring public safety is a job-killer, so thousands of EPA jobs will be cut so more Americans can be hired to work in the declining coal industry.
This is how you eliminate the EPA. You weaken it with budget and staff cuts so that the agency cannot effectively do its job.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt still has time to make changes to the final budget, but we can see where things are headed. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies obtained a preliminary budget that showed budget cuts more than 40 programs. Items include:
The EJ 2020 – the agency’s strategic plan to advance environmental justice from 2016 to 2020 – will also suffer major setbacks in its infancy. It’s possible this plan will be scrapped altogether if the budget goes from $6.5 million to $1.5 million. Environmental justice programs play an integral role in focusing on environmental and public health issues that impact low-income, indigenous and minority communities.
Once again, our most vulnerable communities will suffer the most because of these budget cuts.
What is it going to take for Trump to understand that you can’t just wish for clean air and water to magically happen? You need policies and regulations to make it happen.
View the programs and state grants that will change under President Trump's budget proposal. All figures are in millions.
Environmental advocate. Communications professional. Sports fan. I love television and press conferences.