Almost 25 years ago, President Reagan appointed a director of EPA. Funding was slashed; environmental laws went unenforced or postponed; recommendations of scientists were ignored; the director was charged with contempt of Congress. It was argued that these measures were taken to spare business from costly regulations. The president was forced to dismiss Director Anne Gorsuch, mother of the newly appointed justice. She was replaced by William Ruckelshaus, Nixon’s director.
Current Director Scott Pruitt has slashed EPA funding, postponed deadlines and reassigned scientists to other agencies. During his last term as governor, Oklahoma experienced 600 earthquakes attributed to fracking. Prior to this era, Oklahoma averaged two per year. An insecticide banned by President Obama was approved for use by Pruitt. It is a cocktail of ingredients, one of which is 2-4D, a chemical linked to neurological disorders in children. President Trump awarded the signing pen to the CEO of Dow Chemical, manufacturer of the insecticide.
In his 2015 Encyclical on Climate Change, Pope Francis stated: “The violence in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air, and in all forms of life.” The presence of chemicals in drinking water, asthma attacks in children and violent and extreme swings in weather would seem to call for more, not less, environmental regulations.
A recent letter writer described climate change as an effort to redistribute wealth. The only plan to redistribute wealth recently occurred in the Trump tax plan, a massive redistribution upward. The window for action is closing rapidly, according to scientists, a group that is rightly celebrated for its successes in so many areas of our lives.
Thomas Smith, Argyle