John O’Grady is president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238, which represents roughly 10,000 EPA employees nationwide. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, O’Grady rails against the proposed cuts, saying they will lead to dirtier water and air across the country. “We’re going to have Flint, Michigan, multiplied by some factor of 10 or 100,” says O’Grady. He maintains that while pollution may be less visible today compared to decades ago — “We don’t see rivers catch on fire now, we don’t see valleys filled with drums of chemicals” — the need for the EPA is no less great.
O’Grady says the true intent of the Trump administration is not to streamline the EPA, but to destroy it. “I believe that [EPA Administrator Scott] Pruitt is in place to deconstruct the agency,” says O’Grady. “These individuals and the administration and those that support them in Congress are dead set on rolling back environmental and human health protections to the 1960s.”