With the EPA budget at an all time low, what’s at stake?
Photo courtesy of Lorie Shaull
Who would be a better choice to run the EPA other than Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, who is nothing but a bitter opponent of the EPA. One lawsuit after another to abolish all regulations to save the environment and now here we are with Pruitt, an anti-climate change advocate, holding the planet in his hands.
During Trump’s presidency he has made it clear to eliminate several acts by slashing the budget in place to protect the environment. The targets he plans to shoot down first are the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water Rule and the federal coal-leasing moratorium.
The EPA is a small agency and has suffered many budget cuts with past presidencies. Looking at the Trump administration those cuts are expected to be an all time high.
“The EPA has a budget of only $8.1 billion,” said Morgan Barrows, environmental studies professor at Saddleback, “to cut it by $2 billion is a huge reduction.”
A budget of $8.1 billion is a small budget to begin with when taking into consideration what it takes for the environment and its mechanics to run smoothly. It hardly leaves an impact on society’s own personal spending according to Barrows.
“If you think it is only a little over 18 dollars a person that the government is spending to protect the environmental welfare of our country, that’s nothing and that’s pitiful.”
Not only are environmental acts at stake, endangered species are also being targeted. Funding for the Endangered Species Act is being threatened, with the potential of half of its funding being stripped in California alone. The ESA was signed into congress in 1973 and helps protect more than 1,600 plant and animal species that are marked as endangered.
Students are also feeling the effects of this administration due to a freeze on EPA grants for current research going on within the environmental community. Grad students and researchers funding has been stopped and all current studies have been put on hold.
With the EPA beginning to disappear, where does this leave the community and our planet? There is going to be a decline in the state of our environment but the biggest problem is that people won’t take action until it becomes their problem.
“Once the people start caring, once the people start believing its important and that momentum behind the people starts taking off that’s when you’ll start to see action taken,” said Barrows.
In today’s political climate, it’s going to take more than government intervention to save our world. With Trump’s administration planning to layoff 3,000 employees in the EPA and climate change nothing but a hoax, there is no other option than to turn to the people.
“ The environmental movement started as a grassroots movement and it needs to go back to that,” said Barrows. “Forget the government looking out for our best interests from an environmental perspective, we have to take it back to the power of the people.”
This society can’t be a functioning one without a clean healthy planet, and that is exactly what we must focus on in order to move forward with our health and prosperity.