Quantcast

Trump, Pruitt Slash EPA Staff to 30-Year Lows as Drinking Water, Climate Change Crises Mount

Popular
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. NRDC / Flilckr

By October of this year, the staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be reduced to levels not seen since the Reagan administration, 30 years ago, according to a report by Brady Dennis with the Washington Post.

The dramatic reduction in staff will almost certainly include career scientists and other staff who are often called into local communities where an environmental disaster is occurring, like Houston following Hurricane Harvey. These staffers also work on less urgent, but serious problems like the widespread drinking water contamination that impacts virtually every American.


The push to downsize EPA staff comes as part of a larger effort to curtail the size and scope of an agency that President Trump once promised to eliminate "in almost every form."

Last week, the Arkema chemical plant explosion in Crosby, Texas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, shined a light on not only the Trump administration's lax oversight of the nation's chemical facilities, but his dramatic 31 percent proposed budget cut to the EPA and what that would mean for chemical plant safety in the future.

A second hurricane, Irma, is the largest ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and is ripping through the Caribbean on its way toward South Florida. Among the 97 percent of climate scientists who agree humans are a driving contributor to the warming planet, there is consensus that a result of warming oceans is much larger, more intense hurricanes. Until the Trump administration came to power, former President Obama's EPA was taking significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are the leading culprit of climate change.

"Only the Trump administration would conclude that it's a good idea to cripple the federal agency tasked with combating the growing pollution threats to Americans' drinking water, and the clear and present dangers of climate change—like historic, back-to-back hurricanes," said EWG President Ken Cook. "These and other serious problems demand more resources, not fewer. However, the EPA is no longer run by leaders who put a premium on human health and environmental protection, and this hollowing out of the agency's staff is the clearest example of Trump and Pruitt's disdain for both."

A report released this week by EWG shows the drinking water of nearly 90 million Americans is tainted with the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane. The EPA and its career staff are charged with working with local authorities to help mitigate drinking water contamination.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

With well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage. An economist from the University of Michigan Energy Institute says that is likely to change. Maskot / Getty Images

In 2018, there were about 5 million electric cars on the road globally. It sounds like a large number, but with well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage.

Read More
Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to bring functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to the market and to address the global challenge of plastic packaging waste. Nestlé / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nestlé, the world's largest food company, said it will invest up to $2 billion to address the plastic waste crisis that it is largely responsible for.

Read More
Sponsored
Determining the effects of media on people's lives requires knowledge of what people are actually seeing and doing on those screens. Vertigo3d / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Byron Reeves, Nilam Ram and Thomas N. Robinson

There's a lot of talk about digital media. Increasing screen time has created worries about media's impacts on democracy, addiction, depression, relationships, learning, health, privacy and much more. The effects are frequently assumed to be huge, even apocalyptic.

Read More
Indigenous people of various ethnic groups protest calling for demarcation of lands during the closing of the 'Red January - Indigenous Blood', in Paulista Avenue, in São Paulo, Brazil, Jan. 31, 2019. Cris Faga / NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia

Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10 percent of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5 percent of global carbon emissions, has been hit with a record number of fires and unprecedented deforestation.

Read More
Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington on May 12, 2017. GLENN CHAPMAN / AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft announced ambitious new plans to become carbon negative by 2030 and then go one step further and remove by 2050 all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975, according to a company press release.

Read More