Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sustainability, Efficiency, and Health being cut

Blog reader K.P. contacted me about the possibility of submitting an article for publication. Naturally, I replied that she was welcome to send me what she had to say. I will let her piece speak for itself, except to note that it lists just a taste of the possible consequences of the current political environment. Under the surface, it points to disturbing questions about what the Republican Party is really about in the 21st century. K.P. has some inside knowledge regarding the Environmental Protection Agency and what GOP funding cuts could jeopardize.

Through the early months of 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency has been under a series of attacks from GOP representatives and major business owners. These attacks include a proposed major cut to the EPA budget, as well as the introduction of other acts aimed at cutting down the relevancy and effectiveness of the EPA. With environmental problems continuing, this could be an unfortunate hit to the EPA.

The backlash towards the EPA is stemming mostly from major business owners in factories and power plants. The EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions has not only ruffled the feathers of these business owners, but now a number of GOP leaders who are looking to fire back at the EPA for what they see as unnecessary regulations. The problem with the stance of the GOP is that lowering the EPA’s budget and ending these emissions regulations would be dangerous in raising pollution and possible health risks.

Not having any type of emission regulation at all would be a dangerous precedent. It’s basically a green light for these businesses to relax standards as much as they need to stay profitable, increasing pollution and risks to public health. This combined with lower resources for the EPA could put people in affected areas at risk for a number of respiratory health issues such as asthma, mesothelioma, and different forms of cancers.

The EPA’s budget was finally at the level in 2010 where it could run a great amount of programs geared towards making the nation more sustainable and keeping health risks to a minimum. These included working to keep public water facilities safe for drinking. The EPA worked with local and state water systems, as well as water suppliers to enforce a set of standards that would allow for safe water consumption.

The EPA also does a great amount of work in maintaining air quality for the country. The AQMG (Air Quality Modeling Group) is a part of the EPA geared towards helping out local and state officials. The AQMG is setup to give these officials a series of models, diagrams, and programs geared towards helping provide the best air quality possible in these areas. A reduction in quality air could certainly turn into a raised risk of asthma and other respiratory problems.

Asbestos removal is another important initiative of the EPA. Every year the agency works in local buildings, schools, and structures to help remove this dangerous material from places where it could be exposed. Formerly known for its diversity as a building material, asbestos is now known for its connection to health problems such as asbestosis, nausea, mesothelioma, and dizziness. Although it’s not in use today, agencies such as the EPA are working to have it removed from older buildings to prevent dire health risks. For example, mesothelioma life expectancy is extremely severe, usually averaging only a year following diagnosis.

These are just a few of the initiatives that make the EPA a driving force towards sustainability and efficiency in America. With the EPA’s movement to not only increase sustainability, but also cut down on health risks, slashing their budget and cutting their initiatives would likely be the wrong move.

Today's Jim Efstathiou article in Bloomberg Businessweek reinforces K.P.'s remarks.


Blogger Liza said...

Good post, K.P.

Yeah, it does seem that the destruction of the EPA and the dismantling of 30+ years of environmental regulatory laws must be almost as high on the GOP-TEA Party agenda as the destruction of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and labor unions.

Not only are they in denial of the 21st century, but they want to destroy all of the populist achievements of the 20th century.

The dark clouds are gathering...

4/13/2011 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Observer said...

The pro-life party has its priorities straight. Since when was clean air or water important when corporate profits might be affected?

While we're at it, let's gut the FDA. Contaminated food never hurt anyone.

4/13/2011 2:17 PM  

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