“The proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan abdicates EPA’s solemn responsibility to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. Administrator Pruitt must abandon this lawless and destructive course of action.”
Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund
Let me count the ways that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is destroying the environment.
Here are just a few: Under EPA chief Scott Pruitt, the agency decided to ignore scientific evidence and not ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide known to have caused serious health problems in the past. That was last year.
In January 2018 the EPA officially decided to revoke the Clean Air Policy, allowing for more pollution.
On February 27, we learned that the EPA plans to eliminate its National Center for Environmental Research, which funds research into environmental impacts on communities.
The office, which tests the effects of chemical exposure on both adults and children is being shuttered amidst a major reorganization at the EPA; It will no longer exist as a stand-alone agency following plans to consolidate three EPA offices. The program, which provides millions of dollars in grants each year, is perhaps best known for research that studies the effect of chemicals on children’s health.
“These programs have been so successful in advancing our scientific understanding and our ability to address the ways that environmental chemicals can impact children’s health,” said Tracey Woodruff, a former senior scientist and policy adviser at the EPA under the Clinton and Bush administrations. “The children’s centers were really the first and only centers to uncover the relationship with prenatal exposure to flame retardants and IQ deficiencies in children.”
But hey, children’s health isn’t really that important, right?
This is just the latest in a series of actions that make it clear the EPA is intent on destroying, rather than protecting, the environment.
“Trump is determined to undo all the work that President Obama put into protecting the environment and with Scott Pruitt he has a willing ally.”
Here are 5 of the most egregious ways that this is happening:
1. Employees Fleeing a Sinking Ship. Since the Trump administration began, over 700 EPA employees have either quit completely or taken early retirement. This is the second highest exodus of employees in nearly a decade. “According to agency documents and federal employment statistics, 770 EPA employees departed the agency between April and December, leaving employment levels close to Reagan-era levels of staffing,” ThinkProgress reported.
2. Climate Change Denial. Although the World Health Organization believes that 250,000 people will die each year from 2030 to 2050 from factors directly related to climate change, Pruitt has made sure that the phrase “climate change” does not exist on the agency website. The EPA head also advised Trump to withdraw from the Paris Accords on climate change, leaving the U.S. as the only country in the world that has not signed these accords.
3. The Clean Power Plan. This plan, created under President Obama, was designed to help each state establish new carbon goals to reduce emissions by 32 percent before 2030. States were given various options to meet these goals, since the methods for one state might not be the best for another state. That’s all gone, thanks to Scott Pruitt, as the EPA announced its decision to abandon the Clean Power Plan, allowing for ever-increasing amounts of pollution.
4. Secrecy. Pruitt has demanded that his employees not take notes at meetings with him and implemented gag rules that prevent his staffers from talking about various environmental issues. His insistence on secrecy means that he has retained his own round-the-clock security staff, costing taxpayers $830,000. Scarily and weirdly, Pruitt has installed a secure phone booth in his office to the tune of $33,000 and special locks at a cost of $6,000 each.
5. The EPA budget has been slashed by more than 30 percent in one year. Polluters have taken this as a sign that they can do whatever they want. Enforcement actions are down by more than 30 percent from the Obama administration years, while demands that polluting factories clean up their act have also dropped dramatically.
No wonder that this latest move to cut back on environmental research into human health is happening. it’s just a continuation of the patterns we’ve seen from Scott Pruitt for over a year now. After all, Trump’s nominee for the EPA was the same person who, as Oklahoma Attorney General, sued the EPA to try to block Obama-era regulations intended to protect the nation’s air and water.
Trump is determined to undo all the work that President Obama put into protecting the environment and with Scott Pruitt he has a willing ally.