Why Save the U.S. EPA?
On June 22, 1969, an oil slick and debris in the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio, drawing national attention to environmental problems in Ohio and elsewhere in the United States. This Cuyahoga River fire lasted just thirty minutes, but it did approximately fifty thousand dollars in damage — principally to some railroad bridges spanning the river. It is unclear what caused the fire, but most people believe sparks from a passing train ignited an oil slick in the Cuyahoga River. This was not the first time that the river had caught on fire. Fires occurred on the Cuyahoga River in 1868, 1883, 1887, 1912, 1922, 1936, 1941, 1948, and in 1952. The 1952 fire caused over 1.5 million dollars in damage.
On August 1, 1969, Time magazine reported on the fire and on the condition of the Cuyahoga River. The magazine stated, “Some River! Chocolate-brown, oily, bubbling with subsurface gases, it oozes rather than flows. “Anyone who falls into the Cuyahoga does not drown,” Cleveland’s citizens joke grimly. “He decays”. . . The Federal Water Pollution Control Administration dryly notes: “The lower Cuyahoga has no visible signs of life, not even low forms such as leeches and sludge worms that usually thrive on wastes.” It is also — literally — a fire hazard.”
The fire also brought attention to other environmental problems across the country, helped spur the Environmental Movement, and helped lead to the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972.
Now is the time to save the U.S. EPA because the present Congress has taken actions that are intended to prevent the U.S. EPA from protecting the environment and public health. Now is the time to save the U.S. EPA because Congress is making decisions about the environment based on political interests with no consideration of sound science. Now is the time to save the U.S. EPA because those opposed to U.S. EPA have embarked on a campaign of misinformation about what the U.S. EPA does, how it does is job and the effect of EPA’s actions on jobs and business interests. Now is the time to save the U.S. EPA because never before has it been threatened with budget cuts of such a size that they threaten the environment of the United States and the health of its citizens.
What About the Deficit?
Solving the problem of government spending by cutting protection of the environment is not the solution to our problems. Cutting spending to protect the environment today merely shifts a much more costly burden to future generations. Cutting spending on environmental protection today directly harms the health of the citizens of our country and the health of future generations. Study after study has documented the enormous benefits of spending to protect the environment and public health. That does not mean we do not think that the national debt is a problem. We just think that focusing on solving the national debt problem at the expense of the environment and the health of Americans is the wrong choice.
The Mission is Not Finished
The mission of the U.S. EPA is not finished. Although most of the visible pollution is not as visible as it once was, we are dealing with extremely dangerous chemicals being released into the environment, more often than not without sufficient information on their toxicology.The U.S. EPA’s decisions are based on sound science and laws passed by Congress. The U.S. EPA does not dictate how much environmental protection is sufficient to protect the environment and public health. It is primarily science and the mandates given to the U.S. EPA by Acts of Congress that dictate the level of environmental protection the U.S. EPA must assure is achieved. The decisions about what the U.S. EPA does were made by elected officials over decades and those judgments should not be discarded lightly due to short-term and short-sighted interests.
Please Join Us!
Please join us in saving the environment and saving the U.S. EPA from the special interest groups who are urging Congress to cut EPA’s budget and hamstring its ability to enforce our nation’s laws.