The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently taking comments on its proposal to repeal, replace, or modify environmental protections “to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.” The proposal is almost nonsensical in its vagueness, and could apply to any EPA regulations.
The EPA is a public health agency, created by a Republican president to ensure the health and safety of our nation. I urge everyone who breathes air, drinks water, or relies on a stable climate to submit a comment - because your future is at stake. You can find information about how to make a comment, with a link to the comments input page, here: www.indivisibleberkeley.org/epa
This is what I submitted:
I oppose any arbitrary efforts to remove common-sense environmental protections. I support the protection, which the EPA provides in the form of regulations, of human health and the environment that sustains all of us.
EPA regulations are based on sound, peer-reviewed science. They were crafted specifically to protect human beings and the environment we rely on. Any future changes to EPA regulations must therefore address the degree to which regulatory changes would increase adverse outcomes for humans and the environment (e.g., increased 'spare the air' days, increased numbers of cancers and other illnesses, adverse effects on endangered species, etc.).
I have witnessed, here in my home state of California, the positive changes in air quality that are a direct result of environmental regulation. When I was a kid, there were often days when the air was a filthy brown color. Today, even though my state has doubled in population, the skies are much cleaner. Yet we still have high asthma rates. If anything, we need *more* protections for our air and water!
Improvements in air and water quality improve not only our health and well-being but also our economy. From 1990 - 2012, pollution in the US decreased dramatically, while our GDP doubled. The EPA conservatively estimates that the regulatory benefits of the Clean Air Act exceed its costs by a ratio of 25 to 1. Where else can you get that kind of return? Any proposed elimination of regulations that protect our air and water must therefore also address the costs of the associated health impacts on workers - and their families - such as increased healthcare costs, days missed from work, and lives lost.
Furthermore, the EPA's Clean Power Plan is the single biggest policy lever currently in place to limit our nation's greenhouse gas emissions. We need stringent regulations on carbon pollution to keep our pledge to the other nations of the world - and to our children - that we are doing everything we can to ensure a livable planet for their future. Right now it is a scientific fact that we are on a collision course with a destabilized climate - something the Department of Defense calls a 'threat multiplier'. We are already feeling the effects of climate change, stronger and faster than scientists originally predicted: the ice caps are melting, the seas are rising, the storms are getting stronger, more wildfires are burning, and the droughts and floods are happening with increasing and depressing regularity. We simply don't have time to yank away regulations, willy-nilly, just so a few companies can make some more money by polluting for free. If we value our children's future, we need to be building a clean energy economy, and we need to be doing it at breakneck speed. In order to do that, we must have a strong EPA that protects our air from carbon pollution and holds polluters accountable.
Lastly, the request for comments does not list or provide reference information to the specific regulations that might be covered by the request. The request should therefore be re-issued with a list of potentially affected regulations, and an extended deadline so that the public can provide properly informed comments.
On a personal note, I am worried about the repeal, replacement, or modification of environmental protections because I am terrified about what kind of world I am leaving to my son. As someone born in the late 60s, I grew up witnessing a country that felt like it was getting better - with the skies getting cleaner, and the future getting brighter. If you want to make America great again, the last thing you should be doing is tearing away at the EPA's protections of our air, our water, and our climate. The EPA is, quite frankly, one of the best things about the USA.
I drink water every day, as does everyone in my family. Every time I turn on my tap, I'm grateful that I live in a country that protects my right to clean, potable water. My family also breathes air, and I am grateful that the government makes sure it's clean and safe. We live in a city near the ocean, whose many services all depend on a stable climate and a stable coastline. If you start ripping out the protections provided by the EPA, all of that is at risk - and as a mother I cannot sit by and watch that happen.
So I am begging you: DON'T REPEAL OR REPLACE ANY EPA REGULATIONS. There are a thousand other better things you can do with your time.