Ever since Rachel Carson’s SIlent Spring revealed the unexpected hazards of agricultural chemical pesticides, humanity’s perception of the environment has altered. Americans, for the first time, realized how their technological progress has come at the expense of our Earth. “In nature nothing exists alone,” Carson has stated, and indeed human lives are inevitably intertwined with the breath of our very home.
In effect, the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A) was founded in 1970, with hopes to protect human health and the environment through legislative means. For years, the E.P.A has endured as the main U.S agency in tackling pollution, instigating series of reforms such as the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Air Act, while attempting to curtail and regulate carbon dioxide emissions through its international programs.
But under the Trump administration, the E.P.A will head towards a new, unforeseen direction. For one, E.P.A will be experiencing the largest budget cuts by 31 percent along with health services, housing, diplomacy, and the arts in efforts to increase military spending by billions of dollars. Not only this, the Senate has ultimately given its final confirmation to the new head of the E.P.A, namely the Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt “who has built a career out of suing to block the E.P.A.’s major environmental rules” (N.Y Times). As a climate change skeptic and a renowned opposer of the E.P.A, Scott Pruitt’s hypocritical vision for the E.P.A is now stirring a great deal of controversy in the United States.
“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” were the recent words by Pruitt only last Thursday. Holding the support by President Trump, Pruitt aims to reduce regulations over fossil fuel industries, allowing them to “thrive” and “planet-warming emissions to increase.”
Already, It has been noted that for the last six years, Pruitt took part in 14 lawsuits against the E.P.A, while attempting to draft his own climate change rules that run counter to Obama’s major achievement—the Obama Climate Plan. The Obama Climate Plan strives to gradually replace fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy, aiming to cut 2005 greenhouse gas levels nearly a third by 2030. Upon this, Trump had long expressed desires to repeal the Obama water regulation that prohibits pollution in most rivers, streams, and wetlands, and Pruitt is more than willing to replace them.
As much as America holds its global reputation economically and politically, it must maintain responsibility over its industries’ environmental ramifications that affect the world. And while the Obama Climate Plan has endeavored to ameliorate pollution, Pruitt’s inauguration to the E.P.A may pose a major threat in the long term. It is true industries may prosper momentarily for if Pruitt’s regulations do come in effect, but we must realize global pollution may hit its peak at unprecedented levels.
-Sammie Kim 18′ (Featured image: Valero Doval)