Day 33: Let’s Say Thanks to the EPA!

Thank you, EPA!!

DAY 33 ACTION: Call EPA’s Customer Hotline or use social media to thank @EPA and @RogueEPAStaff for 47 years of protecting the public’s health!

EPA. The folks that took lead out of our gasoline.

Today is Scott Pruitt’s first day as EPA Administrator. It’s a good day to recall agency wins for human health and the environment.

In 1970, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Our major environmental laws – the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Superfund – were passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities and signed into law by Republican Presidents. But environmental issues were not a focus of the 2016 Presidential election. So when Trump said on the campaign trail that he wanted to “get rid of [EPA] in almost every form,” the news didn’t seem to register.

Now we know Trump was serious – because today is Scott Pruitt’s first full day as EPA Administrator. His qualifications? Pruitt has sued EPA 14 times, and sent at least one letter to EPA drafted by an energy company. Until December, Pruitt was Chairman of the Rule of Law Defense Fund, a Koch-funded group for Republican Attorneys General dedicated to dismantling Obama’s legacy. 

So, on Pruitt’s first day, we think it makes sense to recall two of EPA’s many public health successes: 

  • Getting The Lead Out. Soon after lead began to be used as a gasoline additive, in 1923, workers in New Jersey and Ohio plants began dying from lead poisoning. But industry funded science to cast doubt on the dangers of lead for decades, and argued that lead-free gasoline would be too expensive. In the end, EPA’s phase-out of lead helped drove innovation (ever heard of the catalytic converter?) and delivered huge public health benefits.
  • Closing the Ozone Hole. In the 1970s, scientists began noticing a seasonal “hole” in the Earth’s ozone layer, the layer that protects us from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Research tied this to chemicals used in hair spray and refrigerants. The US negotiated the Montreal Protocol to phase out these chemicals, and Congress tapped EPA to lead this effort in 1990. Dupont invented substitutes and ended up dominating the global market.

These are just two of EPA’s many successful programs. We rely on this agency to set minimum standards for clean air and clean water across the country. Let’s give it the support it needs, to continue to do its job over the next four years. Our health depends on it!

Today’s Action: Thank EPA for its strong public health record, and ask them to stay the course for the next 4 years!


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