Friday, March 3, 2017

Gutting of EPA Funding Will Have Catastrophic Consequences For Most Americans

Image may contain: 1 person
Most citizens have already heard or read that Trump said he’ll call for $54 billion in reductions to offset new spending for the Pentagon. Never mind the defense budget has doubled its share of GDP since September, 2001, moat of it on wasteful toys (like the F-35, and "Gerald Ford" aircraft carrier - a $13b monstrosity the Chinese could take out with just one Dongfeng -11 missile) so of little use in an asymmetric warfare scenario.

Now we know how disastrous the carnage will be as the first reports have emerged of the coming cuts to the EPA, as well as other positive national programs like Americorps. (Whose 80,000 education volunteers serve in hundreds of poor urban and rural communities) News reports from The Denver Post two days ago cite deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency that could slash the agency’s career staff to 12,000 from 15,000, largely through buyout offers and layoffs. The State Department also could be in line for a big reduction, which some estimates peg at 37 percent..  This magnitude of cutbacks is not merely disastrous, they're catastrophic. For example, the climate change protection allocation for the EPA has now been sliced by 70 percent. Incredibly, the Heartland Institute - behind many denier websites - asserted even that wasn't enough!

All this because mentally challenged Trump insists we need $54b  to "start winning wars", evidently forgetting that we brought the largest war machine ever assembled to confront peasant farmers (Viet Cong) in Vietnam and still lost!  We did so at a cost of over $260 b and 58,000 lives lost over what was really a civil war. We tried to flex our technological advantage in aircraft carriers, tanks, heavy weapons and still lost to peasants. We barged in, refusing to learn the lessons of Dien Bien Phu, where the French also were brought down and shown that military might is little use against a highly determined foe. Of course Trump, a five time draft dodger, likely never even read or processed any of that. He was too busy figuring out ways to screw people out of their money.

Meanwhile, as the Post has observed, the expectation of cuts is nerve-racking to civil servants already shaken by the arrival of several (swamp creature) Cabinet secretaries hostile to their missions, a hiring freeze and pledges by Republicans to upend job protections.  These faithful, hard working civil servants - including EPA scientists - deserve all credit for doing all they can before possibly being shown the door.

One human resources manager in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Northwest region who spoke on the condition of anonymity (because he was not authorized to speak publicly) said:

"The mission is important, but now it’s just maintaining our jobs. We’re in a holding pattern, and all we get is dribs and drabs and no specifics.  The uncertainty is starting to get mentally draining for people.”

Most federal employees affected are waiting to see whether the news really is as bad as they fear and if so, whether Congress will come to the rescue. Don't hold your breath! For now, they're reading the tea leaves on cable television as they pore over the recommendations of the conservative Heritage Foundation. This is the extremist think tank which the Bannon-led Trumpites are leaning on for guidance. Heritage’s list contains several agencies targeted not just for downsizing but elimination, including one that provides financial assistance to rural businesses, the International Trade Administration, and the Legal Services Corporation.

EPA scientists' biggest concern now is the impact of Trump's executive order targeting the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule, finalized in 2015, that revised  the Clean Water Act to extend federal protection to small and seasonal waterways. These are critical for water supplies in water-scarce regions of the West..  In particular, implementation of Trump's E.O. will not only drain water resources for fracking, but also pollute our remaining water stores with fracked chemicals  - most of them carcinogens, including benzene, xylene, toluene etc.

Trump, demented asshole that he is said the rule has “run amok” and called it “a disaster.” His order is titled “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism and Economic Growth”  which could be translated to read: "Reversing water quality for all citizens so they get more diseases and can't afford to pay for treatment 'cause we're taking away their ACA".

His E.O. directs EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to review the rule for consistency with goals of economic growth and regulatory certainty and to rescind or revise the rule. EPA officials have said the rule will have the greatest impact in states such as Colorado where protection for small and seasonal water previously was uncertain. In Colorado, 68 percent of streams are seasonal.

Trump's E.O. that enables dumping of coal waster into rivers, will also have terrible health consequences. One need only be reminded of the 2014 Elk River (West Virginia)  chemical spill -  of  the coal cleaner  methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM).)  which caused enormous problems and a massive cleanup effort.

This time there will be no cleanup efforts because Trump doesn't give a crap. So all the millions who stand to be affected ought to brace for the many cancers now ready to be unleashed upon them, including of the pancreas, liver, kidneys, stomach, testes, breast and prostate. According to one of the West Virginia families affected in 2014, they were  informed their water was "so contaminated it was only fit for flushing toilets." 

Alas, when all those cancers, skin diseases, gastro intestinal reactions and others break out, people will no longer have the ACA to help carry the costs of their infirmities. As people will learn to their heartbreak when the GOP presents its "repeal and replace" for the ACA based on tax credits and health savings accounts - soon to be announced.

The Trump bunch, like the Bushies before them, do not grasp the extent to which the quality of the environment - including our water, air and soil, impacts our health.

Grab some consolation as you behold our newly Trump-revamped military. And when you do get that cryptosporidium or cancer of the pancreas, remember the real price you yours have paid for that "advance".

See also:

No comments: