THE EPA FACES THREATS TO ITS ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)?
The EPA faces threats from the White House and Congress. Myron Ebell, Trump’s former transition team EPA head, said he expects to see at least half of the organization’s budget slashed by Congress. (Ebell has since gone back to his job shilling for fossil fuels.) The EPA’s budget is a little over $8 billion, or 0.2% of the federal budget. It employs 15,000 people. As a reason for these cuts, Ebell cited scientists’ “global-warming alarmist agenda.” In reality, federal agencies say that 2016 was the hottest year on record. Climate change research and ACTION IS NEEDED NOW! The EPA faces threats that would set such actions back decades.
Trump’s pick to lead the EPA is Scott Pruitt, who had his confirmation hearing on January 18. Pruitt has denied that climate change exists. As the attorney general of Oklahoma, he sued to fight the EPA’s caps on methane and carbon dioxide. He has also received $270,000 in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies and let them write his policies. Pruitt received the endorsement of the right-wing Heritage Foundation. The foundation’s budget blueprint (which Trump is likely to adopt) calls for wiping out the EPA’s budget. Instead, it wants to cut climate change research and privatize environmental regulation.
WHAT DOES THE EPA DO?
The EPA protects humans and the environment from harm. It does so by monitoring air and water quality and protecting endangered species. It also does vital research into climate change and shares that research with the public. Half the EPA’s budget goes to states and local organizations. State environmental programs, nonprofits, and schools use EPA grants to research local environmental issues and clean up their communities. The EPA uses other money for coordination of environmental efforts and communication with the public.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
- Call and write your senators. Ask them to oppose Scott Pruitt for EPA administrator. He is a friend to the oil and gas industries. Pruitt does not have the EPA’s best interests at heart.
- Call, write, and tweet your senators and representatives. Tell them you are concerned about Trump’s plan to cut the EPA’s budget and staff. Ask them not to accept cuts to organizations researching climate change.
- Click here for a map to see what offices and laboratories the EPA has in your state. Click here to find state-specific EPA news (including US territories). Reference these places and projects in your calls. Mention the high value of the work the EPA does in your state and the jobs it provides for people in your area. (Remember, half of the money the EPA gets from Congress goes to local institutions.)
- Keep an eye on the so-called “gag order” that’s preventing scientists from speaking to the press. Also, watch for news about the required review of scientific papers by the Trump administration. If peer-reviewed science is under threat from the government, we’ll put together a call to action on ways to fight back.
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