Monthly Archives: March 2017

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By: Oliver Milman  —  From: —  March 3, 2017

Planned cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency are set to fall heaviest upon communities of color across the US that already suffer disproportionately from toxic pollution, green groups have warned.

Donald Trump’s administration is proposing a 25% reduction in the EPA’s $8.1bn budget, eliminating nearly 3,000 jobs and several programs including the agency’s environmental justice office. Funding for the cleanup of lead, marine pollution, tribal lands and the Great Lakes region faces severe cuts, while climate initiatives are earmarked for a 70% budget reduction.

The environmental justice office is tasked with bridging the yawning disparity in pollution experienced by black, Hispanic and low-income communities and wealthier white neighborhoods. It provides grants to communities to mop up toxins and rehabilitate abandoned industrial facilities that are invariably found in poorer areas.

In the final months of Barack Obama’s administration, the EPA unveiled a new effort to tackle lead poisoning, air pollution and other problems suffered by communities of color situated next to waste treatment plants, smelters and other sources of toxins. But this plan will be cut down in its infancy should the environmental justice office be dismantled.

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I, your editor, was on a conference call with the NRDC this afternoon, March 3, 2017. It was very informative. They are doing amazing front-lines litigation for the natural world (and I include humans in the natural world).

They are putting together “talking points” for the public to help tell the story of why the EPA is important. It will include this fact: the EPA spends in 1.5 years what the military spends in 1 day.

This fact would make a great political cartoon. (Send one to us if you draw one.)

Please consider this point when you hear of “money saving” tactics by the current government.

Which way conveys the message best to you?

The military spends in 1 day what the EPA spends in 1.5 years.
The military spends in 1 day what the EPA spends in 18 months.
The military spends in 1 day what the EPA spends in 216 days.
The military spends in 24 hours what the EPA spends in 5,184 hours.
The military spends in 1 hour what the EPA spends in 216 hours.

Military = one day $ : EPA = 18 months.

EPA = 18 MONTHS : Military = 1 DAY

EPA takes 18 months to spend what military spends in 1 day.

The EPA spends in 1.5 years what the military spends in 1 day.
The EPA spends in 18 months what the military spends in 1 day.
The EPA spends in 216 days what the military spends in 1 day.
The EPA spends in 5,184 hours what the military spends in 1 day.
The EPA spends in 216 hours what the military spends in 1 day.
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The future of the EPA is uncertain

by Alessandra Potenza  Feb 28, 2017, 8:00am EST

Children play in the yard of a home in Ruston, Washington, while a smelter stack showers the area with arsenic and lead residue in 1972.Photo by Gene Daniels / US National Archives Children play in front of a smelter pumping lead and arsenic residue in the air of Ruston, Washington;  a woman holds a glass of black, undrinkable water from her well in Ohio; and the view from the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan is so hazy with smog that the New Jersey skyline is impossible to see. These scenes were captured in the early 1970s as part of a project, called Documerica, that was commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency to document pollution in the US. Today, the photos show what America looked like before environmental protections were put in place — and they serve as an important reminder of why we need those protections.

Today, the future of the EPA is uncertain. The new EPA leader, Scott Pruitt, has made a career out of suing the agency for its environmental regulations, working hand in hand with the fossil fuel industry. President Donald Trump is expected to drastically cut the EPA’s budget and workforce, as well as roll back many of the regulations that empower the agency. And a bill meant to terminate the EPA by December 2018 was recently introduced in the House by three Republican congressmen.

But most ordinary people haven’t forgotten life before the EPA — and the majority of them don’t want these cuts to the agency. More than 60 percent of Americans want to see the EPA’s powers preserved or strengthened under Trump, according to a Reuters / Ipsos poll released last month. And it’s not just liberals, either — almost half of Republicans wanted the EPA to continue in its mission as well. Only 19 percent of Americans would like to see the agency “weakened or eliminated.”

“There’s tremendous public support for clean air and clean water, and the basic mission of the agency is tremendously popular,” Paul Sabin, an environmental historian at Yale University, tells The Verge. “People are counting on the government to provide those protections.”

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