The EPA’s Mission

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes USEPA) is an agency of the Federal government of the United States which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.

Based on laws passed by Congress. The EPA does not WRITE law, they enforce it. Gutting the EPA doesn’t change the law, it allows people to break it without consequence.

In 1970, in response to the welter of confusing, often ineffective environmental protection laws enacted by states and communities, President Richard Nixon created the EPA to fix national guidelines and to monitor and enforce them.

Why we need the EPA

The flux of our government is one thing that keeps it from going (too far) off the deep end over periods of time, but is makes for some schizophrenic rule making. If air regulations changed drastically every 4 years, business would have to spend more money just to keep up with each new shift. Having a national EPA allows business to have a smoother ride, and the rest of us some chance at cleaner air, water and land.

Who do environmental rules affect?

The people of the US get cleaner water and air, and clean ups after accidents (there was almost 1 pipeline oil spill per week in 2016), and compensation for ruined health and property damage. It may not be easy to get reparations, but it is possible. Also the health affects of pollution are high:

…researchers published the results of a 10-year study that showed why previous investigations kept finding shorter lifespans in areas with poorer air quality: pollution appears to accelerate harmful deposits in the arteries that cause nearly all heart attacks and most strokes.

Business and the EPA

Lets face it, regulation is sometimes at odds with business and the environment. For example, in the late 1970 the air in New York City looked like this:

p10_smogny

If you think this was only an occasional thing, you didn’t live there. I lived (and ran) in New Jersey  and the air hurt your lungs to breathe some days. It wasn’t until 1982 I realized you could see New York City from my town.

Now, the air is cleaner with days like this a rarity. What does this mean? Millions of people are breathing cleaner air resulting in healthier people and less medical bills which save the US a LOT of money. Many businesses had to spend money to clean up their emissions, which is why environmental rules are considered ‘bad for business’. This was also true of the water in the Hudson river (or Cleveland where the river famously burned).

The vast majority of businesses in the US are not overly affected by these rules. If fact, I would guess most don’t even know what they are. The biggest polluters are energy (especially coal) and petro-chemical producers.

We need energy, so how will regulations affect these companies? Well, with headlines from ABC News like:

Big Oil’s most profitable quarter ever: $51.5 billion

apparently, the effect is not that great. So why roll back regulations and air/water quality rules? It will allow people with investments in oil/gas to make even more money. Who will it affect? The poor and middle class.

Coal production is affected, and that affects a lot of people in the regions that produce coal. These people and regions should be the focus of the government as coal use lowers (which it is doing due more to market forces than EPA rules).

valconos-guatemala-backcountrygeezer

What can you do about saving the EPA?

Call your representatives and let them know you like to breathe and drink water.

Call your congress people. Let them know what you think.

Read up on what the EPA does for you:

NY Times

LA Times

EPA Office of Children’s Health Publications

The Hill

Act now. We may not be able to save the EPA from massive cuts, but we may be able to keep it from being completely gutted.

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