For months, the Environmental Protection Agency and the new administration have been weakening environmental safeguards that protect our children’s health. Now, as a radical new agenda takes hold, signs of stress are appearing within the EPA itself.
Last week, Betsy Southerland, a 30-year Agency veteran, left her position as Director of Science and Technology in the EPA’s Office of Water, saying she is “heartbroken about the impact of the new administration on environmental protection in this country.”
She’s not the only canary choking in what’s now become the proverbial EPA coal mine. A Union of Concerned Scientists report recently found that the new administration is creating a “hostile environment for scientific staff.” An EPA career leader on environmental justice programs under presidents of both parties quit in March to protest plans to close the agency’s Office of Environmental Justice.
This comes as EPA ripped decades of climate science information from its own website.
Protest resignations and editing websites are bad enough. But the story for the American people is far worse, as the Trump Administration mounts a long-term assault on successful programs that keep our water, air, and land healthy, and hold polluters accountable. Forty-nine EPA safeguards from the previous administration have already been abandoned.
The sad fact is that the EPA is jettisoning and suppressing the scientific and public health expertise it needs to keep our children safe from toxins, and installing top oil, gas, and chemical industry officials to oversee policies for the industries they’ve spent their career working for. This even led scientists to leak an inter-agency climate science report they feared would be suppressed.
Meanwhile, the EPA’s budget is on the chopping block, with the Trump Administration proposing an enormous 30% cut, which would reduce its funding to the lowest level since the 1970s. The EPA is stocked with talented professionals dedicated to protecting the health of our children and families. But to do their job, they need the right budget, scientists and public health experts—and the right policies.