EPA to Public: Which Environmental Rules Are Bad? Public to EPA: Leave Those Rules Alone

Pam Wright
Published: May 17, 2017

Following President Donald Trump's February executive order instructing agencies to review which rules and regulations should be eliminated, replaced or modified, the Environmental Protection Agency asked the public for comments to help officials make those decisions.  

The agency received more than 26,000 responses by Monday when the comment period closed. While there were comments calling for the elimination of the EPA, the vast majority of comments implored the EPA to keep current regulations and do everything in its power to prevent a return to the polluted state of the country before the EPA was created. Many said more regulations are needed and not fewer to ensure the health of the country and the planet. 

"Please keep the regulations for air pollution and radiation," one commenter wrote. "These are common sense, and we should be doing even more to ensure good quality air and water for our future! We need regulation to keep our earth liveable!"

(MORE: EPA Removes Climate Science Website From Public View)

“Have we failed to learn from history, and forgotten the harm done to our air, water, and wetlands?” wrote Karen Sonnessa from New York. “If anything, regulations need to be more stringent. I remember the days of smog, pollution, and rivers spontaneously combusting. EPA is for the people.”

"Any act of lessening the power of the EPA is generally ludicrous," another wrote. "Funding the protection of our environment not only has benefits to people everywhere but takes into consideration generations to come. The world simply would not last if we were to ignore the environment which is a crucial part of a daily, monthly, and yearly cycle that helps our planet sustain itself. To digress, I love biodiversity, ecological homeostasis, and......oh yeah, OXYGEN!"

“Know your history or you’ll be doomed to repeat it,” another person wrote. “Environmental regulations came about for a reason. There is scientific reasoning behind the need for it. It is not a conspiracy to harm corporations. It’s an attempt to make the people’s lives better.”

"The EPA serves a necessary function in the protection of American people and wildlife," a person wrote. "All regulations should remain in place. Additionally, new regulations should be added to further secure clean drinking water for all people in this country as well as to protect wildlife species from extinction.

One person simply wrote the word "No" 1,665 times.

The EPA is one of several agencies – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrative is another – that have been targeted by the Trump administration for significant budget cuts. Trump has proposed a 31 percent cut to the EPA and a 26 percent hit to the NOAA. Cuts to NOAA may seriously hinder timely and accurate weather forecasts and warnings, Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator under President Barack Obama, told weather.com.

(MORE: Trump's Plan to Slash NOAA Budget Puts Lives, Climate Research at Risk, Scientists Say)

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called the proposed budget "a fantasy" that ignores the EPA's mission to protect public health.

"It shows the Trump administration doesn't hold the same American values for clean air, clean water and healthy land as the vast majority of its citizens," McCarthy said in a statement to the Associated Press. "Our health comes before the special interests of multibillion-dollar industries."

Members of the public who took the time to comment on the EPA site seemingly share McCarthy's views on regulations that were implemented to protect the planet and the health of its inhabitants. 

"I am strongly opposed to the elimination of EPA regulations," a commenter wrote. "Our government is our safety net, designed to make sure our air, water, and land are safe, clean, and plentiful. While this work needs to be done with economic growth in mind, the long-term sustainability of our earth must ultimately trump economic development needs."

MORE: Photos Reveal Pollution Before EPA

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