What does the EPA actually do?
Since day one of the existence of the EPA in Dec 1970, it has done nothing but good that has benefited millions of lives.
You can of course read up on the EPA, but perhaps a good way to illustrate what they are really all about is to highlight a couple of truly significant wins …
- Removing lead from gasoline – This alone was one of the truly historic EPA achievements. It inspired nations across the globe to follow the Unites States’ leadership, and so it improved billions of peoples’ lives as a result.
- The establishment of Mercury and Air Toxics Standards – this led to the reduction of mercury, lead, arsenic, acid gases, and cancer-causing chemicals the previously billowed out of US power plants.
I have hardly scratched the surface.
This is not simply a climate change issue. This is because the very existence of the EPA is also a very basic public health concern. The existence of the clean air act is estimated to have saved 34,000 lives and avoided 400,000 asthma attacks, mostly among children, not once, but each and every year.
What is going to happen at the EPA?
The UK’s Independent reports some of the gory details …
Myron Ebell, who led Mr Trump’s transition team at the agency, said that he expects the new President to sack at least half of the staff there. He also hopes that the organisation will have its budget cut significantly, he said.
…Mr Ebell said that he wouldn’t speculate on exact numbers of staff who might be sacked. But he said that he personally would start by sacking at least half of them.
This is of course the same Mr Ebell who happens to work for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a body that is heavily funded by corporations and individuals that profit from the continued burning of fossil fuels, and so he takes an anti-science stance, not because there is evidence to support that position, but simply because there is profit for some.
Up next to head the EPA is Scott Pruitt
Mr Pruitt, Oklahoma’s state attorney general and Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is due to be confirmed. He has already faced the senate confirmation hearings and as might be anticipated, dished out a heavy dose of Contempt and Extremism …
Mr. Pruitt’s Senate confirmation hearing was marked by him misleading senators, refusing to disclose energy companies from whom he solicited donations, and evading questions that prompted a scathing rebuke from environment committee senators.
Now Pruitt has responded to senators’ post-hearing questions with answers that are staggering in their contempt, extremism, and evasions.
… in other words, he will be leading the EPA over a cliff.
What has already happened?
Grants have been frozen … this is not typical for an administration transition. Taking stock is what usually happens, this is different.
Gagging orders … to quote an article on this “The president has banned EPA employees from “providing updates on social media or to reporters”, according to interagency emails first obtained by the Associated Press“.
Net effect, concerned staff are going rogue …
- @ He can take our official Twitter but he’ll never take our FREEDOM. Unofficial EPA resistance. #factsmatter
- @ Ungagged news, links, tips, and conversation that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is unable to tell you. Not directly affiliated with @EPA.
— U.S. EPA – Ungagged (@ungaggedEPA) January 27, 2017
— U.S. EPA – Ungagged (@ungaggedEPA) January 29, 2017
If you are inside, you can talk to the press with confidence, for example the HuffPo has some specific tips …
Do you work in a federal agency? Email us at [email protected] and let us know what you’re seeing and hearing. To email us on an encrypted channel, create a protonmail.com account and use it to write to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is only as secure as it can be if you are using the same encrypted email network on your end. It’s not secure to do so on your work computer. Beware that no email network, no matter how sophisticated, is 100% secure all the time. Read more on Protonmail here.
Making America Great again
If none of the above gets the message across, then perhaps a brief reminder of what things were like before the EPA existed might help. There is an actual photographic record of the pre EPA environment …
In November 1971, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a monumental photodocumentary project to record changes in the American environment. DOCUMERICA resulted in a collection of more than 20,000 photographs by its conclusion in 1978.
If Trump has his way, then this is what is being reinstated.
This is Trump’s vision for making America Great once again. If you voted for him, them this is what you are about to get. I’d advise holding your breath for the rest of your life.