(Good to keep in mind. Personally, I think we got rolled in the recent budget deal: we tipped our hands that Planned Parenthood and NPR were hot buttons, and ended up "saving" those tiny slivers of funding in exchange for big cuts in crucial major programs. - promoted by SarahLawrence Scott)
For the Environmental Protection Agency, the early stages of 2011 have been filled with constant criticism and fight from the GOP against their initiatives. From defending regulations to fighting cuts on the budget proposal and resolutions, the EPA has been forced to fight off the advances of the GOP for nearly three to four months now. Even with budget cuts and acts that don’t exactly match what republican reps have been looking for, the constant barrage of activity against the EPA is disturbing and could spell future problems for the agency.
The budget resolution came in a few weeks back with a 16 percent cut to the EPA’s slate. This is a six percent increase from what was originally proposed at the beginning of 2011. The final cut to the EPA’s budget came after months of criticism from the GOP, whether it was a direct result or not. The GOP had purposed a cut equal to a third of the EPA’s 2010 budget. While the GOP didn’t get exactly what they wanted, the EPA was still exploited for further cuts. This type of pattern leading into the future could be rather troublesome, especially when you begin to think about some of the EPA initiatives that have a direct impact on environmentally related health problems.
Certainly the GOP have been forward in their intentions, however the actions against the EPA could have a greater impact than what is visible at the surface. Continuing criticism of the budget could lead to further cuts and repeated reduction of resources for the agency.
The GOP’s barrage against the EPA has largely involved the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and the Clean Air Act. Although they see these regulations as a hindrance to business and employment, the health risks that would be involved in ridding emission monitoring are staggering. The money that may be made up from increased revenue would be equaled or totaled in hospital bills with increased smog and pollution. These businesses cannot be counted on to maintain safe levels of gas emissions as it’s been clear that there only source of motivation is profit. A major increase in smog and polluted areas could come at the price of health problems such as asthma and other respiratory issues.
Another program that could stand to lose resources from the EPA is asbestos abatement and the fight on reducing mesothelioma cases. The material asbestos, which was once used as insulation and building material in many cases, is now banned in many areas because of its correlation with major health risks. Every year the EPA is able to invest time and effort in to having this material removed from schools, older buildings, and other unsafe structures with asbestos. In some cases, their work can even be viewed as life altering or life saving, when you consider that mesothelioma life expectancy is extremely severe, averaging only a year after diagnosis. The continuing attack on the EPA could have a major effect on the budget and resources for some of the agency’s most important programs.
Certainly the GOP’s tactics look basic at first; however the impact of their attack on the EPA could become a continuing trend throughout 2011 and into 2012. It’s important to keep awareness of some of the EPA’s major positive programs at a maximum, in defending the agency’s need for resources in the future.