President Trump has just announced, as part of his 2018 budget proposal, a draconian 31% cut in EPA’s budget. That’s the biggest cut in any federal agency. And EPA is already among the smallest agencies.
That means EPA will be unable to detect and measure pollution, unable to enforce pollution laws, and unable to make sure companies clean up their pollution. Many of us depend on EPA to tell us when there is a Code Orange day—when the air is too dangerous for children with asthma, or seniors with heart conditions, to be outdoors—or a Code Red day, when the air is too dangerous for all of us to be outside. Under Trump’s proposed budget, that lifesaving program gets slashed.
Of course, not one single polluter is ever held responsible for fighting asthma, cancer, premature births, neurological damage, strokes, heart attacks, and other health issues that are directly linked to air pollution. Pruitt is rolling back every single health protection he can get his hands on. He’s even trying to make it okay to spew mercury and lead into our air again. Both are terrible poisons for the developing brains of our little ones.
Polluters who break the law go free — because the laws that keep poisons out of our air and water are being systematically undermined as fast as possible.
For instance, Wyoming oil and gas company Devon Energy was illegally emitting. 80 tons of hazardous and cancer-causing chemicals every year. These created a smog so thick it blanketed huge swaths of Wyoming. Devon Energy was threatened with a hefty fine by the previous EPA. But now that their friend Scott Pruitt is in charge, the company can expect to pay a much lower fine, and is planning to walk away from its commitment to installing pollution prevention technology, according to an exposé in the New York Times.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970 by a Republican administration to protect us from clouds of lethal pollution in cities across the United States. It has cleaned up our air, and the economy has rocketed along; strong anti-pollution regulations have not hurt business. Clean air should not be a partisan issue.
But now EPA is being run by a man who thinks his job is to protect polluters — and their profits. Their profits fund his — and his cronies’ — political races; so far, Pruitt has raised $4 million from major polluters. Is there any question about who he works for? Himself, and the fossil fuel industry. Even the senator charged with overseeing EPA, John A. Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, has collected more than $500,000 in contributions from the oil and gas industry in the last two years.
It is hard to understand how any politician could be so corrupt, so irresponsible, heartless and careless. It is all about money and power—for people who will never, ever feel like they have enough money, or power.
The rest of us are not powerless. Your protests stopped these vicious cuts to EPA for the 2017 budget cycle. Now it is time to deal with the 2018 budget. Sign our petition. Call your senators and representatives.