By Dilara Shahani
The purpose of the environmental protection agency is to preserve the environment and protect human health. However, in order to do so, it requires the support of the government and a fair share of funding. Since 1970, the EPA has worked to pass and enforce laws to reduce the harm being done to the Earth and work to promote a more sustainable lifestyle. In the past few years, the EPA has been a target for several politicians to belittle. But without the EPA, human beings might no longer have clean air to breathe or clean water without regulations being actively enforced. Under the new presidency, the EPA faces detrimental funding cuts, as Trump has proposed to cut budget funding by 31% and allocate more money to immigration and defense programs instead. This will lead to about a quarter of the EPA to lose their jobs, and more importantly, endanger public and human health. Currently, under the safety of the EPA’s multiple programs that allow humans to live safe and healthy lives, we do not understand what is at risk and how our lives will be negatively affected if almost ⅓ of the EPA’s budget is taken away.
Americans need a reality check. One of the more well-known acts of the EPA is the Clean Air Act, which controls air pollution. As of right now, many people question the necessity of this act as they argue they can breath fine and the air is not polluted. However, this is true as a result of the Clean Air Act! Look at China, for example, and how the Chinese government failed to effectively enforce pollution restrictions and regulations. The smog in Chinese cities are so thick that it has forced the Chinese government to declare a red alert: factories must be shut down, hindering the economy, and schools are forced to be closed, hindering children’s education. The misconception that the EPA only protects nature does not take into account long term effects. Without a thriving environment, the human population cannot grow and function properly. Our lives rely on how we treat the Earth, and if neglected, we will face the consequences.
Contrary to several politicians’ arguments, the EPA’s programs are actually saving lives and money. Businesses and factories can continue to run, and water and air is not filled with toxins that kill citizens.
Robert Percival, director of the environmental law program at the University of Maryland, said taking away funds and repealing the EPA, “Reflects a lack of understanding over the US legal system, you’d have to fundamentally repeal or change all our environmental laws”. Repealing the EPA would only cause difficulties in the legal system; Congress has delegated numerous of duties to carry out to the EPA, as well as a large collection of databases that is managed by the EPA to keep control over nation-wide health. Some Americans support transferring funds from the EPA to other programs, but without the EPA, there is no agency on the national level to continue the jobs like regulating pesticide use or keeping record of toxins. The federal budget must have priorities, and the EPA may not be at the top, but it is undeniable that the EPA is an imperative component to keeping the country safe and functioning. The progress since the addition of EPA programs is undeniable; The Clean Air Act, for example, has allowed for new passenger vehicles to be 98-99% cleaner for most tailpipe pollutants compared to the 1960s and sulfur levels are now 90% lower than prior to regulation. These changes are saving lives and allowing the global population to do the simple task we take for granted: breathing.