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Foreshadowing the Continued Threat Against EPA

by: NScott

Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 13:49:21 PM EDT


(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. 

NScott :: Foreshadowing the Continued Threat Against EPA

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major environmental programs took a bad hit (0.00 / 0)
wolves, whooping cranes, other endangered species, toxic waste dump cleanups, sustainable agriculture, etc.  It's sickening in more ways than one.

I don't know what's going on in Obama's head.  One theory I have that fits the facts about this and his general inaction on global warming is that he doesn't grasp the seriousness of the issues.  I am assuming he has good intentions, maybe not.  I mean, can you spell stupid?

It's now too late to prevent a global warming catastrophe.  We might have, if he had taken action promptly. But now with nothing in sight to help before 2016, it's too late.

He morphed into a supporter of torture and someone who doesn't care about prejudicial statements (ex: Manning), so much for being a Constitutional lawyer.  So another theory is he's just a crooked pol.


Another theory (0.00 / 0)
I share your frustration. Climate change and civil rights are the two areas where I've been most disappointed in the President, but maybe that's because those are two areas I value highly. I don't think supporters of immigration reform are too happy either, for instance.

Jon Stewart has said of the President, "For me I can't tell if he's a Jedi Master, playing chess on a three-leveled board way ahead of us, or this is kicking his ass."

At this point, we can tell what the President's governing style is. He's the anti-demagogue, and he doesn't like the bully pulpit much. He doesn't like to put his weight behind an issue until he thinks he can win on it. He likes to let Congress exhaust itself (and us) bickering over a problem, and then ride in at the end to push whatever compromise has been achieved over the finish line. That's who he is, and it's not going to change.

The result is that it does get stuff done. Both "easy" stuff, like regulations, and "hard" stuff, like major legislation. But the compromises are often loopy, whether it's throwing wolves under the bus or giving Nebraska a special break to secure Ben Nelson's vote. And it denies the importance of an issue until he's ready to say it's important, even while suffering continues. Climate change continues in the mean time, the Constitution continues to be trampled on by the existence of Guantanamo, undocumented immigrants continue to be exploited and the shadow economy based on them eats away at the rule of law, and so on. I don't know the right way to govern, but this way is sure frustrating.

On the environment, Politifact just looked at his promises in that area. And it fits the pattern:

Only 2 broken promises, but one is a biggie: cap and trade; the other is converting the White House fleet to be plug-ins.

16 promises were kept: water conservation efforts, funding for national parks, funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, increased energy efficiency for farms, a wildlife management plan, prevent wildfires (2 promises), expand hunting/fishing access (not your favorite promise, I'd guess), climate change monitoring system, alternative energy investment, call for energy conservation, a green vet initiative, clean tech job training, sharing environmental tech with other countries, encourage energy-efficient buildings, increase EPA funding (increased, then decreased)

29 promises are in the works: include the environment in trade agreements, incentivize tree planting, improve water quality, regulate livestock pollution, strengthen federal environmental justice programs, increase funding for sustainable agriculture, conserve private lands (2 promises), protect wetlands, restore Superfund, improve climate change records, improve weather prediction, create green jobs, require 10% renewables by 2012, require 25% renewables by 2025, get more oil and gas from shale, partner for clean coal,  work with UN on climate change, invest in green business, force utilities to reduce demand, increase energy efficiency of buildings (2 promises), increase energy efficiency of appliances, require federal fleet to be half hybrid or electric, require more flex-fuel cars for federal fleet, increase biofuel production, work on disposing nuclear waste safely, require energy use to be considered in transportation spending, preserve the Everglades

3 promises are stalled: restoring the Great Lakes, funding to help fish and game survive climate change, and working against commercial whaling

And 8 are compromises: protecting forests from more roads, education for young hunters, a tax break for renewable energy, "use it or lose it" for drilling leases, use cap and trade revenue to support clean energy, phase out incandescents, work with Al Gore, create clean tech venture capital fund

A lot of real progress, but some weird compromises, and little in the way of a headlines-grabbing push. Was there a better way to go about this?

Thinking about how to prioritize these things makes me glad I'm not President--it's a difficult job!
 


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