UC Berkeley’s violent protest, banning immigrants at airports, a heartless dictator taking presidency, these are just some of the most recent events that are going on in our country. With the president signing multiple executive orders it is easy to lose track the temporary suspension that was issued, the social media blackout and the freeze on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grants. The EPA aims to “protect human health and the environment.”. This includes everything from the products that are manufactured, such as cars, to the work and home environment, agriculture, and everything in between. To address these issues, EPA develops and implements regulations, study environmental hazards, and most importantly give grants to state environmental programs.
According to CBS news, this temporary suspension not only bans press releases, blog updates, and posts to social media accounts, but also freezes grants and contracts. This freeze could cause major problems in rural communities that have ongoing water clean-up projects. Lynn Thorp of Clean Water Action spoke to CNN on this subject by stating, “The EPA is already operating under constrained budgets, and for example we already feel they are constrained in their ability to implement the safe water and clean water acts. Additional cuts would further constrain their ability...”. The EPA’s efforts go undermined and people should be aware of their actions. If it wasn’t for them our water supply would be unsanitary.
What does the Trump administration intend to do with the EPA program? According to White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, in a comment made out to U.S. News said “I don’t think it’s any surprise that when there’s an administration turnover, that we’re going to review the policies” Surely their intentions are reasonable, but there may be personal beliefs amongst those reasons. Before President-elect Donald Trump took office in the White House, he had called man-made global warming a “hoax.” Another source confirms that their actions may be dismayed by personal beliefs, as reported on “EPA Contact Freeze in Place”:
Trump and Pruitt have both been frequent critics of the agency and have questioned thevalidity of climate science showing that the Earth is warming and man-made carbonemissions are to blame.
Again, on what grounds is the Trump administration issuing temporary suspension on EPA grants? Is their goal objective? House representative Matt Gaetz from Florida sure knows what he wants. According to an email obtained by The Huffington Post, “Gaetz has drafted a bill to ‘completely abolish’ the Environmental Protection Agency.” There have been numerous attempts in doing so but just the thought of not having the EPA around is chilling.
Furthermore, grant recipients such as professors are concerned whether they would be able to continue student research. Kelly Cobb, an assistant professor at the University of Delaware, is recipient of the EPA P3 Grant which focuses on People, Prosperity, and the Planet and it aims at helping student researchers with projects on sustainability. More specifically it helps aid “fund travel expenses, or lab expenses, or generally offset the cost of undertaking research in sustainability”. If budgetary cuts were made who would make progress on creating more ideas for a sustainable world? Surely not the Trump administration. In addition, according to USA Today the suspension seems to be lifted but there are still one hundred million dollars in grants still under review.
Americans should be concerned with the fact that the Trump administration is keeping us from updates on the environment via EPA social media sites. Like mentioned before the EPA is in charge of the air we breathe to make sure there aren’t any excess chemicals that we are consuming. Also keeping our water supplies so that our pipelines are free from toxicity. Liz Perera couldn’t have put it better herself when she stated “EPA was created to ensure that all Americans can enjoy clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and have their health protected from environmental and climate threats”. Imagine a country where there was no regulation on car emission tests or heavy inspections on polluting factories, we’d be closer to a world disaster. We are in the 21st century where we rely heavily on social media for important updates worldwide. Information has to be readily accessible in order to make appropriate preparations.
Another controversial issue is the suggestion of Trump’s nominee for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. Although Pruitt has not been officially appointed to lead the EPA, there seems to be one legitimate reason why he shouldn’t be. It does not make sense to appoint a person who has been constantly suing the EPA for the past six years. Pruitt also been part of 14 lawsuits “challenging rules that limit” industries that are responsible for “greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.” If he becomes administrator of EPA (if there’s even an EPA to lead by the time he does), then the damages would be catastrophic.
People need to be aware of their rights such freedom of the press in the First Amendment. Speaking up for what is right is crucial to keep our democracy strong. The EPA is a crucial program to keep us updated on environmental issues. Their grants are the backbone to everyday research on sustainability. Without the EPA program we would be just ordinary people blinded by our actions and chaos would run over us.
The Merced community has to speak up for what is right. It is our right to see to how the environment is progressing or not. It is important to be aware to certain health issues, especially with pollution. The communication between the EPA and not only the Merced communities but thousands of others are crucial to our health.
Picture Credits: Common Dreams