When you think of the Environmental Protection Agency, my guess is that you think of an organization that writes policies that make our world better, safer, and healthier.
My guess is that you don’t think of an organization who is looking to save money.
However, that is exactly what the EPA has been doing the last few years. After receiving an order from the Trump administration to cut costs and cut regulations. The executive order asked that for every one regulation to be issued, two regulations should be cut.
However, the EPA went one better. Or twenty six better in this case. They cut twenty six regulations in total, which is much more than the 2-1 ration the White House had ordered.
The savings? A whopping $6 million. The real costs? Unmeasurable.
As Matthew Gravatt, the Sierra Club’s deputy director for federal and administrative advocacy notes, “The EPA should not be bragging about cutting vital safeguards for our air, water and climate. Going above and beyond Trump’s arbitrary benchmark is not an achievement, it only proves that Andrew Wheeler couldn’t care less about the health and safety of those he is supposed to protect.”
And unfortunately, this is not the first time the EPA has done this. According to a CNN report, “In the past two years, the EPA changed what waters are protected under the Clean Water Act, rolled back an Obama-era plan that would have reduced carbon emission from coal-fired power plants, and proposed a rule that would allow fewer restrictions on hazardous air pollutants, among other changes. The inspector general’s report gives a fuller picture of how aggressively the agency has been in slashing regulations; the data shows the EPA has been the most successful in this goal.”
And the inspector general report did not evaluate human health and environmental impacts or trends. While the EPA is “pleased” with the Inspector General’s conclusion that the EPA is “in compliance” with the executive order, perhaps we should be asking why an agency designed to protect the world around us is pleased with deregulation cuts that could potentially have grave environmental impacts.
Perhaps we should be asking, as the inspector general recommends, that the agency be more transparent about its regulation changes moving forward, and even more, consider the impact of their actions.
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