Chair, Progress For All
Over the last week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the federal agency that protects our air, water and public health – has come under vicious attacks on all fronts.
President Trump signed an executive order that rolls back the Obama administration’s major climate change policies – a set of ambitious EPA regulations to curb U.S. carbon emissions – namely the Clean Power Plan, which was intended to reduce greenhouse and gas emissions from our nation’s electric utility plants. The plan would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants, frozen construction of new plants and replaced them with wind and solar farms.
The order sends an unmistakable message about the direction President Trump wants to take the country – one of unlimited oil and gas production, while at the same time turning a blind eye to global warming.
To make matters worse, the Trump administration also announced it would be proposing a 31% cut to the 2018 EPA budget — that’s a cut of $2.5 billion – cutting resources to the lowest level in 40 years.
Such unprecedented budget cuts to the EPA would pose a great danger to American lives. The cuts would eliminate 50 individual programs and nearly 4,000 employees would lose their jobs. Funding for climate change research would end, public health programs would be defunded, state environmental programs would be closed and regional projects would end.
We also have Scott Pruitt, a dangerous EPA Administrator who sued the EPA 14 times while serving as Oklahoma’s Attorney General. Pruitt has strong ties to and financial backing from corporations seeking to weaken clean air and clean water standards.
Last week Mr. Pruitt moved to reject a petition filed a decade ago by environmental groups that had asked the agency to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos. This chemical was banned in 2000 for use in most household settings as a roach killer, but still today it is used at about 40,000 farms on 50 different types of crops ranging from tomatoes to apples.
Last year, EPA scientists concluded that exposure to this chemical caused significant health consequences, based on research conducted by Columbia University. They reported that learning and memory declines are exceptionally high among farm workers and their children who are exposed to this chemical on a daily basis, and has even been found in the water they drink.
As an activist law professor and congressional candidate, I have called for a Green New Deal to sustain our planet for future generations. Now, more than ever, we need to support and defend the EPA’s Clean Power Plan to help convert our economy from carbon-based energy to alternative, clean, renewable sources, such as solar and wind.
We will keep fighting to protect our environment and stand against the fossil fuel industry and other corporate polluters that put profits over the health and safety of real people.