The American People are Drowning

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Living Green

The American People are Drowning

By Bryan Hayes

In today’s climate, change is inevitable.  Change brings uncertainty, and uncertainty breeds fear and anxiety – as well as a myriad of other emotions.   Within this ever changing world, some are relieved, happy, and excited while others feel the polar opposite.

In the political arena, the new administration has, as expected, enacted new policies along with a new vision.   Do you believe it is the right direction? Or, not?  That is the beauty of living in a free society: being able to not only have your own opinion, but being able to express it as well.  

Whatever your belief, it is most likely possible to find support for your argument through one avenue or another, especially in the digital age where each issue has a myriad of sources for validation.  To be knowledgeable, we need to garner information.   The positive part of today is that we are inundated from every possible angle.   The negative is: we are inundated with information – from every possible angle.   What is real and what is “fake” is largely dependent on your point of view.

In terms of the environment, does climate change exist?   Is man to blame?   And, should we be concerned about the future of our state, our country and our entire planet?  Or, is it all overblown and fabricated?   The answers, they are a plenty. Despite your preconceived notion, even if countered by evidence to the contrary, would you believe it?   That is the question, because the answers vary to such degrees on both sides of every conversation.  

The Environmental Protection Agency, the governmental entity whose mission is to “protect human health and the environment” has been a target for both budget cuts and complete dissolution.   Is that because the agency is ineffective?  Flawed?  Useless?

When looking at any division of government, there are aspects that are ineffective.  The military?   How many times have there been questions about over spending, scandals, and overall effectiveness of machinery and weaponry?  But, the answer is not to pull the plug, rather to increase spending in order to fix those issues. 

Allocating funds is a matter of prioritization.  The money needed to pay for one area may need to be taken from another.   What is our priority?   Is it important that:

  • all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
  • national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information;
  • federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively;
  • environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy;
  • all parts of society — communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments — have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks;
  • environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive; and
  • the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.

(https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/our-mission-and-what-we-do)

Are these items important to us?  Are they more important than other aspects of our lives?  Do we need these? If we don’t, what will be implemented?  

Do we care if there are pollution standards?   Does it matter if we have renewable fuel standards?  And, is it ok for formaldehyde to leach from wood products? What level is acceptable?  

In February of 2017, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz sponsored a bill to abolish the EPA by 2018.   Ironically, Florida is a state that is affected directly by rising sea levels.  Even more ironic was Representative Gaetz’s comment that, “The American people are drowning in rules and regulation promulgated by unelected bureauracrats.  And the Environmental Protection Agency has become an extraordinary offender.” 

This may very well true, that the abolishment of the EPA will absolve the American people from drowning.  Or, maybe, we will literally be drowning without any protective agency to govern and regulate.