With the president of the US proposing to slash the EPA's Budget by 31%, I think its time to reflect on the importance of the EPA.
The EPA was established by executive order in 1970 by President Nixon after facing a backlash of opposition from US citizens over the mistreatment of the environment by private industry. Events like the Cuyahoga River Fire in Ohio in 1969, exemplify the mistreatment of the nations rivers which lead to the establishment of the Clean Water Act.
Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" ushered the collective mindset into an era where we had to face the facts of over-spraying toxic chemicals on the environment and disrupting food webs and trophic pyramids which have been in place for millions of years.
The harmful effects of DDT were not completely understood until decades after Paul Hermann Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1948 for its discovery. DDT singlehandedly almost wiped out certain bird species, most notably the American Bald Eagle. Think about that, the overuse of one toxic chemical almost made the US national symbol almost go extinct! And we don't need an EPA?
Internationally, specific events raised concern over the environment like the Minamata Bay disaster, in which the Chisso corporation deliberately poisoned the bay with Mercury, intentionally killing and disfiguring countless local citizens.
The Torrey Canyon Oil Spill disaster off the coast of Great Britain was the first time humanity dealt with an offshore oil spill, but unfortunately not the last.
In 1989 the Exxon Valdez Oil tanker was captained by a fellow who figured out the hard way not to drink and drive at sea when he spilled almost 11 million gallons of oil in Alaska. The environmental/health threat still continues to this day, where workers who helped with the oil spill cleanup used the chemical corexit, which has shown to cause cancer in those exposed to it in elevated doses.
Oil spills have been part of the national conversation ever since, and in 2010 BP stole the record with 210 million gallons of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster. The two tragically ironic facts about this disaster just add to the absurdity with #1 The rig sinking on earth day and #2 BP Executives and head Engineers were on board the rig to celebrate its stellar safety record the day before it sank. Also, roughly 1.8 million gallons of corexit were spread in the Gulf to help disperse the oil, which believe it or not made things worse for the environment, but better for BP.
Needless to say, I could go on for hours explaining why the US needs an EPA, or a stronger EPA. If there is no regulatory agency to keep private industry from contaminating our environment, then we are moving backwards towards a time where the rivers are undrinkable, the air is toxic, and biodiversity is lost. One can only hope that our congress is intelligent enough to push back against our degenerate president, but I a not optimistic.