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Letter: Citizens have to stand up, speak out to protect EPA

Citizens have to stand up, speak out to protect EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency was initiated in 1970 with the mandate to protect the environment and health of U.S. citizens by enforcing laws passed by Congress. Prior to the establishment of the EPA, the U.S. was in the midst of an environmental crisis. Citizens were dying from air pollution. Our lakes and rivers were so polluted that fish were unable to survive and the Cuyahoga River actually caught on fire! As evidenced by the Love Canal disaster, our land was polluted by toxic waste contributing to cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Fortunately, the EPA did its job. It cannot be denied that the EPA has been instrumental in cleaning up our water, air and land.

Despite the incontrovertible benefits of the EPA, the agency currently faces perhaps its biggest challenge, i.e., the potential for its own demise. President Trump has been very clear about his intention to dismantle the EPA and roll back 46 years of environmental progress. He appointed Scott Pruitt, former attorney general of Oklahoma, to preside over the EPA despite his vigorous opposition to the EPA, which enabled an environmental disaster in his home state.

Many have said that Trump’s appointment of Pruitt as head of the EPA is akin to “putting the fox in charge of the hen house.” So, who is to protect the EPA? Who is to protect our environment? Certainly not Pruitt. We the people must protect our environment! We cannot become complacent. We must remain vigilant to the actions of the administration and vigorously oppose deregulation that leaves our environment vulnerable. We must lobby our elected officials to support environmental protection. We can make our voices heard by attending the Earth Day March on Washington or affiliated local marches on April 22. Who will protect the EPA? We will!

David M. Pratt, Ph.D.

Grand Island

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