Say goodbye to clean rivers, accessible wilderness, birds and bees. Republicans in Congress are now prepared to return the United States to the 1960s heyday of environmental pollution, before the Cuyahoga River caught on fire and the Environmental Protection Agency was formed.
Thank Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) for the favor. Mr. Johnson’s legislation would shutter every single regional E.P.A. office and cut the agency’s funding by $7.5 billion, The Hill reports. While the law stops short of actually eliminating the E.P.A., as some Republicans have proposed, it essentially renders the agency a hollow shell. Without regional offices, the agency would struggle to carry out any enforcement action. With remaining budget being just around a billion dollars, the vast majority of their climate change programs would be forced to close.
Johnson also thinks it’s a good idea to roll back regulations on ground-level ozone pollution. Ozone is a byproduct of car exhaust, exposure to which can be fatal to elderly people and those suffering from respiratory illness, such as asthma.
Cast as bill to save bureaucratic waste, Mr. Johnson’s bill, titled the “Wasteful E.P.A. Programs Elimination Act,” seems to favor toxic industrial waste over all other varieties. There is no evidence, by the way, that any of the programs targeted in the act waste any money at all.
Perhaps Mr. Johnson is unaware of just how filthy many parts of the country were before the E.P.A. was formed. In Cleveland, home of the aforementioned river fire, workers and boaters who fell into the water were taken to hospitals for medical treatment. People living in Pittsburgh before the Clean Air Act was introduced couldn’t dry white clothing outside — it would turn yellow.
Today people kayak, row and occasionally even swim in Cleveland’s sandy Cuyahoga. When the weather is good, Pittsburgh’s skies are bright blue. Maybe this photo, of a white cloth dipped into an Ohio river in the 1960s, would help Mr. Johnson and his fellow ignoramuses understand just what the E.P.A. does:
And don’t think for a minute that Republicans are doing anyone but big business any favors here. The inspiration for this legislation comes from the far-right think tank Heritage Foundation, which is largely funded by the fossil fuel tycoons David and Charles Koch.
Environmental contamination reduces human lifespans and contributes to productivity sapping illness. In fact, researchers who studied the implementation of the 1990 modification of the Clean Air Act (which the E.P.A. enforces) found the benefits of cleaner air that resulted saved the U.S. economy over $2 trillion.
Mr. Johnson’s bill would cripple the U.S. environmental protection apparatus at a time when the effects of climate change — a phenomenon recognized by nearly every scientist in the world — are becoming very real. Scientists studying Antarctica are becoming increasingly alarmed over a 100-mile-long and growing crack that threatens to destabilize the entire Larsen C ice shelf.
Need weapons against ignorant family members and friends? Live Science has several dozen photos of vanishing ice fields that might help.
Do not let anyone tell you otherwise – this ignorant and vicious band of Republican legislators care little for human life or the health of everyday Americans like you and me. This bill and the lies that accompany it are blatant proof.