Image: flick.com/jpmatth, CC
I know, I know -- I already penned a post with a very similar headline last week. The GOP wants to gut the Environmental Protection Agency, stripping out a huge chunk of its funding. So what's the news? Well, that chunk just got a lot bigger. As in, twice as huge. The proposed cuts in the GOP's last budget amounted to $1.3 billion -- a hefty sum indeed. But now, the latest version of the proposal would slash $3 billion, lopping off 29% of the agency's funding. Which is be grim news for anyone who values clean air and water.Here's Kate Shepperd reporting for Mother Jones:
The latest version of the seven-month spending plan ... from House Republicans would hack $3 billion from the agency's budget--a 29 percent cut from 2010 levels and nearly twice the proposed cuts in the original plan ... The National Wildlife Federation says the cuts amount to a "sneak attack" on existing environmental laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, because they would make it basically impossible for the EPA to do its job. The huge cut--the biggest in 30 years--"would jeopardize the water we drink and air we breathe, endangering the health and well-being of all Americans," Gene Karpinski, the president of the League of Conservation Voters, said Monday.I know the nation is in the midst of some massive anti-government, anti-spending, corporation-revering sentiment, but seriously, folks. Let's not get carried away. The purpose of the EPA is to protect citizens from contaminated water and polluted air. The agency is single-handedly legally preventing corporations from dumping toxic waste, spewing air pollution in populated areas, and inflicting other damages onto the public and the environment. Nobody else is going to do this job -- there's no profit to be found in preventing businesses from polluting our air.
And let's remember that 77% of Americans want Congress to leave the EPA alone, to let the agency do its job. I guess for some weird reason, most Americans recognize the value of unpolluted air and water. So let's not get swept away in this tide of austerity here -- the EPA has a really important job; one that Americans want to continue to see done.