THE EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency, was founded on December 2, 1970, under the Presidency of Republican President Richard M. Nixon. Concerns about the human impact on our environment became more vocal in the 1950’s.  Henry (Scoop) Jackson, a Senator from Washington led the efforts to pass the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which led to President Nixon’s establishing an agency of our government to protect the health and environment, for our citizens and for posterity.

Today’s EPA or Environmental Protection Agency has 15,193 full time employees in 10 regions of the United States with 27 labs. The agency is tasked to working on maintaining and improving our air and water. They check on the safe usage and storage of chemicals and toxic materials produced by our industry. They are tasked to prepare for potential emergencies. They seek to make our lives greener to preserve the planet. Other areas that they work to preserve are our health and safety. The EPA regulates the use of pesticides, they preside over land and cleanup issues, clean water and waste as well as preparing our country for the climate change effects on our country. Now, one of the primary goals and duties of the EPA is to work to lessen the risk of further damage to our environment in the greatest challenge of our time, climate change. Their job is to plan to deal with the effects of climate extremes in the future.

Conservation was originally an issue that Theodore Roosevelt championed. One could sum up some of his views as follows: 1. He believed that only the federal government had the ability to stop the indiscriminate exploitation of our land and resources. Roosevelt believed that it was morally wrong to exploit our natural resources. 2. The nations natural resources belonged to the people. 3. the government should reclaim arid land. 4. Forests should be preserved by the use of selective cutting. 5. The federal government should familiarize state and local governments with current scientific methods of conservation methods.

Teddy Roosevelt was a great steward of our land and set up our first National Parks to preserve for future generations the beauty of our nation for all to enjoy. He started a great tradition, necessary to the preservation and CONSERVATION, of our land, rivers and other natural resources.

It is more than curious to note that a political party claiming the mantle of conservatism wants to lead we the people into the further exploitation of our resources and basic necessities. They are the first ones to demand that the EPA no longer exist. They claim the EPA is too controlling, and too overbearing. Instead of fine tuning the EPA they want to do away with it. These so-called Republicans are far different than the Republicans of old. Preserving and protecting our environment should not be a political nor a partisan issue. The issue should be about how best can we get the insuring of our health and safety secured in the best manner possible.

No government agency is perfect, but that does not mean you throw out the baby with the bathwater. The EPA could and should consider the consequences of their rules and orders. A story my Uncle told me is illustrative of the fact that our government should provide help and assistance to those who they adversely effect in their efforts to serve and protect our environment. My Uncle Colbert, raised hogs. Hogs denude the earth and they go to the bathroom like every other creature. The gentlemen from the EPA told my uncle that if he wanted to continue to raise hogs he would need to put around a million dollars into his hog business to keep the water underneath the land clean for usage as a result of what hogs leave in the water. Well, even though my Uncle Colbert was making a good living in raising hogs, because he was a small farmer, he did not have a million dollars. Once the gentlemen from the EPA and my uncle were finished talking, my uncle was no longer in the hog business.

Another example of the failure to realize the possible negative consequences of a ruling from the EPA was when they announced to fishermen off the northern coast of California and Oregon that certain fish were over fished and that they had to stop catching those particular fish. Well, that put a whole group of fishermen out of business. They had fished for generation. There were no plans to help those fishermen survive financially and that is wrong.

Yes, there are problems with unintended consequences, but those problems are fixable. But what is not fixable is what would happen to our environment if you got rid of the EPA. There is no way that states would have the resources to serve and protect our health and safety the way the Environmental Protection Agency does. The idea that we citizens are capable of self governing and that we do not need government is a wistful, and unrealistic fiction, a dream far from reality.

Without our federal government’s involvement in preserving and protecting our environment and in the conservation of our resources what would you have? What you would have is China, a nation that does not protect its people from bad air. Without proper safeguards in the use of dangerous chemicals, you get explosions like the other day. The recent explosion that decimated a city is the result of such callousness and immorality. They are not open and honest with their people.

I wish that those who would like the EPA to go away could imagine for just a moment what would happen if we did not have the EPA. Imagine what your air and water would be like! What would the unfettered exploitation of our resources be like where chemicals and pesticides would pollute the land, water and air? You would have China, a home, a country where your life would be at risk and living in a clear a present danger every day of your life. Greed has no shame or any sense of morality.

The health and safety of our citizens is more important than the profits of companies. The poisoning of a river as a result of the Gold King mine is an example of the need to have a watchdog hold the collective feet of Corporate America to the fire. If a company does violate the law and puts us at risk we need the EPA to help punish the lawbreakers. Our beautiful country should not be for sale to the highest bidder. National Parks should not have oil wells drilling while you camp in the park.

In the 1960’s, living in Los Angeles was dangerous to your health. It was a clear and present danger to the health of your lungs.  Who would want to go back to the days when breathing the air was painful and dangerous to your health?

President Theodore Roosevelt in his seven and one half years in office did a lot to preserve and save animal life and the beautiful land around us. The wonders of Yellowstone and Crater Lake, were preserved. We still have a tradition of preserving for future generations the beauties of the earth and our wonderful animals, birds and fauna. We are the stewards of the only planet we have to live on. Let’s not trash our one earth but rather conserve it for our children and their children’s children. Conservation is the true benefit of conservatism.

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