Powerful and wealthy corporations and industry trade groups have been flooding the Trump administration with requests to gut critical public health and environmental regulations that industry argues are cutting into their profits or are simply unnecessary. In reality, these requests are nothing more than corporate wish lists that prioritize profits over public safety and clean air, land, and waters – and it is clear the Trump administration will try to give industry whatever they ask for.
Repealing or weakening environmental regulations does not make pollution costs disappear. Instead, letting industry off the hook for controlling pollution simply pushes the costs onto the public, who pay these costs through damage to their health and quality of life, and more directly through increased publicly funded cleanups, increased wastewater and drinking water costs, damaged fisheries and loss of recreational waters. For example, if companies are not required to spend money to control pollutants in the wastewater they release, nearby communities could pay the cost through polluted waterways, higher costs for treating drinking water, and fish so tainted they are unsafe to eat. Removing environmental regulations has very real detrimental impacts on people’s lives.
As part of the administration’s whole-scale regulatory rollback efforts, Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comments from “the public” on “regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” It is clear that EPA is doing this to provide a forum for corporations and industry trade groups to give EPA their wishlist for destroying our nation’s health and environmental safeguards.
However, everyone can and should take advantage of this opportunity to push back, and thousands of people are already weighing in to tell EPA why clean air, water, and land must be protected. Over 5,000 comments have already been submitted and, of those available to view online, a vast majority are from average people speaking out for their right to clean air and water, and urging that environmental safeguards not be removed. They share incredibly compelling stories: a great-aunt that fears what kind of mess will be left for her great-nieces and nephews, asthma sufferers pleading that we not return to the days of cities crippled with smog, and parents who celebrate that their children are now able to swim in waterways that were dangerously polluted during their own youth.
Please join in this effort and add your own comment by May 15th. Personal comments that convey your own unique perspective are very important. Here is a sample template that might help you get started:
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Regulatory Reform Task Force.” I am writing because I am concerned that this effort to “reduce, replace, or modify” regulations targets safeguards that impact the profits of companies without fully considering the benefits these safeguards bring to average Americans. The idea that environmental regulations are hurting our country stems from ideology, not fact. There is no evidence that environmental safeguards are preventing job growth or holding back our economy. However, there is ample evidence that environmental regulations have vastly improved the economy, health, and quality of life of Americans.
For example, the hundreds of millions of people that depend on clean water for their drinking water, livelihoods, and recreation have benefitted immensely from regulations reducing water pollution. The only entities that benefit from revoking or weakening these regulations are the companies that will be able to increase their profits by pushing pollutants – a cost of their operations that they should be required to account for – onto communities. The American public will then have to pay the financial and health costs of impacts like tainted drinking water sources, fish that are unsafe to eat, and recreational areas closed due to dangerously high pollution levels.
[INSERT YOUR PERSONAL MESSAGE FOR WHY PROTECTIONS FOR CLEAN WATER, AIR, AND LAND ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU]
I hope that, as you embark on this regulatory review process, you will listen to the people that will be hurt by losing the safeguards created by regulations, and not just to the companies that see this an opportunity to improve their profits.
Your Name (optional)
Want to learn more about EPA’s “Regulatory Reform” plan? Check out this website for information on meetings EPA is holding and background information.