Trumping the Environmental Protection Agency

xxxxxBy Anneth V. Ortega

Concerns grow over President Donald Trump’s stance on pro-business platforms that would limit environmental regulations that protect clean water, air and energy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, established in 1970, is under review as Trump plans to limit its capacity as a government agency. Comments Trump made last year on Sean Hannity’s show set his agenda pertaining to the EPA. “[It] is killing us environmentally; it’s just killing our businesses.”

Steven Soltz, chair of College of Southern Nevada’s Environmental Strategies Committee, stated, “The overall stance that the Trump administration has taken is that regulations hinder industry and economic growth. They are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure coal, oil and heavy industry are given a clear path. That includes waving any environmental protections that have been put in their way.”

According to Pew Research Center’s December 2016 study titled “Most Americans Favor Stricter Environmental Laws and Regulations,” 59 percent of adults say stricter environmental laws and regulations are worth the cost while 34 percent say those regulations cost too many jobs and hurt the economy.

xxxxSenator Tom Carper, ranking member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, wrote in a Feb. 27 press release, “Throughout his campaign, then-candidate Trump threatened to get rid of the EPA in almost every form. It was an outrageous statement then, but it is even more appalling that he is putting it into action now. Reckless cuts to the EPA—the agency responsible for protecting public health and our environment—are not what Americans voted for in November. They certainly did not ask for water that is less safe to drink or air that is less safe to breathe. But slashing funding for critical EPA protections will put people across this country at risk for illnesses or even premature death.”

“If there were no EPA, businesses would have the power to pollute the environment at will and we would consequently be facing some serious health issues,” said Dr. John Keller, professor of environmental science at CSN. “In order to save money, businesses would contaminate our atmosphere, water bodies and anything else in the name of a free-market economy.”

Leann Silvia, vice president of CSN’s Environmental Science Club, said, “Nevada’s land is a precious gem to those who know how to appreciate the environment, purely for its serenity. All of these areas are conserved and protected for the public to enjoy, at least in part by the EPA.”

“I personally think that the EPA is an extremely important agency but I am afraid that not enough people feel this way,” Silvia said. “With the recent actions of Donald Trump, though, more people are starting to become aware of just how crucial the EPA is.”

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