As a forward to this article I simply want to express one thing: The EPA may on occasion stifle some company' growth, but it is a vital and effective portion of our federal government.
The EPA is a very important protector of the public safety, as much so as any other federal agency which monitors and regulates the activities of people who may harm the general population. The FBI, CIA, and NSA get the credit for stopping the harm terrorists cause both domestically and abroad, but the EPA is never trumpeted as the protector of the people from corporations. I minored in earth science at BU, but that isn't necessary to see that phosgene (a toxic byproduct of some manufacturing processes and a chemical weapon) utilized by terrorists to attack the American population and phosgene leaked by careless companies has the same effect. Whether terrorism or negligence, the environment that we live in can be easily poisoned to the point where it becomes uninhabitable. I for one, am willing to step on the toes of some corporation and decrease their profits if it means preventing toxic spills or accidents; the EPA is the sheriff that protects us from corporate greed which has effects that can rival that of any terrorist attack.
In recent years there have been numerous attacks on both environmental regulations as well as the regulating bodies. At the federal level there have been efforts to de-fund or under-fund the EPA as well as to restrict the EPA's ability to enforce regulations. The EPA has suffered budget cuts and is expecting more, despite how important it is to our welfare. House Republicans have proposed several bills which would invalidate the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gasses and carbon emissions. At the state level there have been numerous efforts to cut restrictions on industry and block specific portions of EPA regulations. West Virginia is an example of a state where the legislature has restricted regulations and in their own words created a "sanctuary" for industry from the EPA's onerous regulations (such as not polluting rivers so badly that they catch fire). Unfortunately this trend of attacks is still expanding, demonstrated by the attacks on the EPA by all of the Republican presidential candidates.
I seriously doubt that all of the Republicans and some Democrats all got together one day and decided in an open meeting "You know what, cancer, birth defects, sickening toxins, and environmental degradation are things that we need more of and so we should all support restricting and defunding the EPA". As with most aspect of policy and politics in the USA today, in order to find out where the politics are coming from you must follow the money. Industry groups in the energy and manufacturing industries have a long and dark history of "contributing" (read: legalized bribery) to the campaigns and persons of the politicians who make the laws and are supposed to enforce them. The regulatees are bribing the regulators and the policy makers so that they can make a profit off of the suffering of the many. I mean what does it matter if a few more kids get cancer just as long as the oil executives get their bonuses on time? From the house energy committee to the white house, nearly every politician gets a small cut of the proceeds and thus there is no motivation to change.
Above are the statistics that support my claim that EVERYBODY is bought, but the Republicans more so than the Democrats. Notice that the oil lobby contributes to nearly every member of the house and senate but the Republicans (red line) are always more bought than the Democrats (blue line).
In my opinion, the industry's involvement on the attacks on the EPA are no different than a mob family attempting to buy politicians to change the laws so that their activities are no longer illegal. The industry should not be a source of input on the regulations because the public welfare is not in their best interests. Companies want to maximize profit, even if they have to pollute or poison people to do it. The very fact that the politicians can be legally bought by the criminals means that there is very little chance for scientifically based regulations which are intended to maximize the public good.
Without the EPA, industry has the ability to pollute and poison every corner of this country without consequence. Ironically, the attack on the EPA has coincided with an attack on the ability to bring about class action suites (Walmart case), thus increasing the harm which companies can do and decreasing the liability to them for doing it. Below is a chart that explains only a few of the effects of EPA regulated substances simply on the Human body; the effects of the same chemicals on the environment can be equally as damaging.
Toxic Spills: ecosystem destruction, human death + cancer
Air Pollution: smog, acid rain, crop damage, cancer, and building degradation
Oil Spills: ecosystem destruction and economic disruption such as in the BP gulf spill
Fracking: cancer, environmental destruction, occasional rivers catching fire
Industrial runoff: sickness, death and environmental degradation
The entire issue of environmental protection comes down to a single question: "Do you want to live in a world where corporations are allowed to destroy the world and your body along with it for short term profits?" If you do, don't call your political representatives on their actions and let the corporations chip away at the EPA and regulations as they have been doing. If you don't, support politicians who care about the environment and are willing to give up large industry donations for the good of the planet.
The politicians forget that once we burn out this planet, there is no way to get it back and we (or our descendants) WILL pay for our action or inaction.
The Sarcastic Liberal
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Modern American politics are corrupt, hyper-partisan, and gridlocked, yet the mainstream media has failed to cover this as anything but politics as usual. This blog allows me to post my views, analysis and criticisms which are too confrontational for posting in mainstream outlets.
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