Executive Order 13777 created a Regulatory Reform Task Force to oversee the evaluation of existing regulations to make recommendations about potential repeal, replacement, or modification to the Environmental Protection Agency. The dissolution of the EPA would be catastrophic for this country. Fortunately, the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, and before any recommendations are formally issued, the federal government must seek input from the public. The public comment period ends at midnight on May 15, 2017. You have until then to submit a comment on the value, importance, and benefits of the EPA.
Our friends at Deep Sea News have done an excellent job extolling the value of the EPA (as have many others from across the internet):
- The Return to Silent Spring
- Fight against the #EPAfreeze – Because you don’t want sewage on your beaches, right?
Public Comments are important. They do get read (probably by an intern) and are incorporated into the official federal response. This is a tangible chance to make you voice heard, and Southern Fried Science is here to help. Below is a short template I’ve prepared highlighting the economic and human health benefits of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the potential consequences of a significant reduction in the EPA’s funding or scope. Feel free to adapt, modify, and use this to help craft your own comment. Personal anecdotes are valuable, so make sure to begin you comment with a short statement about how the EPA has personally impacted or improved your quality of life.
[INCLUDE PERSONAL STATEMENT ABOUT THE VALUE OF THE EPA HERE]
The Environmental Protection Agency provides an essential cornerstone for US economic growth and well-being. Its mandate to ensure that all Americans are protected from significant risks to their health from the environment where they live, learn and work, based on the best available science is essential to the long-term viability of our natural resources, the health of our population, and our continued economic inertia. This includes regulations enforced fairly and effectively for all parts of society, including communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local, and tribal governments. Substantively reducing the scope and effectiveness of the EPA is a short-sighted and partisan-motivated action which will result in the loss of 47 years of bi-partisan supported environmental safeguards, significant increases to the national debt, a dramatic decrease in the viable US workforce, an increase in Medicaid coverage, and reduced quality of life for American citizens while harming the long-term trajectory of the US economy.
- Economic growth is tied to the health and well-being of the population. Significant reduction in the EPA’s scope will result in greater environmental health impacts, more severe and persistent environmentally-mediated chronic conditions, greater rates of preventable disease, including cancers, respiratory conditions, and metal poisonings, leading to a decline in the overall health of the US population and resulting in a greater Medicaid burden and decreased workforce capacity.
- Increased medical costs related to treating illnesses related to chronic and acute exposure to environmental contaminants will result in enhanced financial hardship, greater treatment-induced bankruptcies, and a significant drain on the US GDP.
- Access to clean outdoor environments encourages exercise, increases productivity, and is foundational to the national identity, producing both tangible and intangible benefits and promoting a culture of self-sufficiency.
- Significant declines in air and water quality will prompt major economically-influential business leaders in emergent technology and knowledge industries to relocate overseas, exporting environmental harms to the US while redirecting economic gains to more forward-thinking nations.
- Healthy natural resources underpin all sectors of the economy; clean air and water is a consistently undervalued resource. Consider the costs of cleanup to return air and water to the necessary status for manufacturing, worker health, and resident safety. New York City’s unfiltered water system shows environmental protections are an order of magnitude less costly than water treatment after contamination.
- Creation of the EPA was a bipartisan, popular effort in response to major dangers as a result of lacking environmental regulation (rivers on fire, water supplies poisoned, soils too contaminated for crops, etc). It does our forebears a major disservice to forget their efforts and, more importantly, the motives behind them.
- Access to clean, potable water is a human right.
A significant reduction in the scope of the EPA is short-sighted and conducted for partisan goals which do not reflect the values and desires of the American People. Any such reduction is symbolic of a fundamental failure in both vision and leadership by the current administration.
When you’re ready, submit your comment through this docket, under Evaluation of Existing Regulations.
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