Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Risk involved with EPA Budget Cuts...Guest Editorial by Nick Scott

The Risk involved with EPA Budget Cuts 
As of late, there has been a push by the House GOP towards reducing even more from the already struggling Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget. This movement has ignited a heated debate concerning the potential health risks that could result from a decreased EPA budget. Republicans believe that defunding the EPA would cause gas prices to go down and revenue to increase for American industry. The proposal made by the House GOP aims to cut the EPA’s budget by nearly 30 percent. Such a reduction could lead to the extermination of many of the EPA’s major initiatives, including The Clean Air Act, and their ability to oversee the nation’s energy practices.
A common talking point made by proponents of the budget cuts is that EPA regulations cost businesses extremely large amounts of revenue. Many business leaders are highly outspoken about the impact these pollution rules are having on their company’s income. Specifically, the main issue stems from the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from plants, factories, and refineries.
GOP lawmakers believe that if businesses have relaxed emission standards, they will indefinitely see increased revenue and job growth. Supporters have even gone as far as to question whether the emissions produced by American manufacturers are even involved in the pollution of the environment at all. Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma, perhaps the GOP’s largest global warming skeptic, has introduced the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011, a bill meant to strip the EPA’s authority of greenhouse gas regulation. Inhofe claims, “This bill puts Congress in charge of deciding our nation’s climate change policy, not EPA bureaucrats.”
While gas prices are sky rocketing and job growth is at an all time low, the potential benefits of the budget cut do seem appealing at first. However, despite the positives, the EPA believes that the associated health risks of a budget cut are not something to be taken lightly. EPA administrator, Lisa P Jackson, shares the same sentiment, having stated: “the standards that EPA is set to establish for harmful air pollutants from smokestacks and tailpipes would remain missing.”

If a budget cut of nearly 30% to the EPA becomes a reality, increased air pollution is sure to be a consequence. Currently, air quality and pollution remain as two the EPA’s main concerns. An increase in poor air quality and thicker pollution would undoubtedly accompany a spike in health dangers such as mesothelioma, respiratory problems, asthma, and other health concerns. Lives will also be put at risk. For instance, the mesothelioma life expectancy averages only 14 months at most after diagnosis. Furthermore, the EPA has stated that 160,000 cases of premature death, 130,000 heart attacks, 1.7 million asthma attacks, and 13 million lost work days have been prevented due to initiatives such as The Clean Air Act.
In summation, any type of proposed budget cut should have an end goal of bringing benefits to the general public. After studying the background and benefits of each side of the budget arguments, its clear to see that there are two strong points of view. While reducing the gas prices and unemployment levels of the country are an extremely important topic, the public health should not be something tossed to the side. The potential long term health risks proposed by this bill should be carefully evaluated before there is anymore forward movement.

1 comment:

botiquin de armario said...

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