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

Pexels

By Ketura Persellin

Global consumption of beef, lamb and goat is expected to rise by almost 90 percent between 2010 and 2050. But that doesn't mean you need to eat more meat. In fact, recent news from Washington gives you even less confidence in your meat: Pork inspections may be taken over by the industry itself, if a Trump administration proposal goes into effect, putting tests for deadly pathogens into the hands of line workers.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Kaitlyn Berkheiser

While enjoying an occasional alcoholic beverage is unlikely to harm your health, drinking in excess can have substantial negative effects on your body and well-being.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
MStudioImages / E+ / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Backpacking is an exciting way to explore the wilderness or travel to foreign countries on a budget.

Read More Show Less
Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Scientists released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction, but it was largely ignored by the corporate news media. Danny Perez Photography / Flickr / CC

By Julia Conley

Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching, which means it's time to stock up on sunscreen to ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Not all sunscreens are created equally, however.

Read More Show Less