News

Assault on the environment

By Molly Rush

No surprise. Former and current anti-EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Administrators Scott Pruitt and Andrew Wheeler sure did their boss’s bidding. From day one the strategic plan was to undermine its mission of protecting the earth, its wildlife and humanity.

From March 20, 2017 to December 18, 2018 the President proposed to end or weaken enforcement of a total of 78 key regulations and laws, including:

  • 11 on coal mining and use in power plants;
  • 11 on nationally protected lands and national parks;
  • 9 on endangered species, including bees; • 6 on clean water plus those affected by other activities; and so on. (December 18, 2018 New York Times lists them all.)

He ended enforcement of super polluting greenhouse gases, one thousand times more potent than carbon dioxide. He ended the ban on chlorpyrifos, that causes brain damage in children. Toxic emissions: including bans on at least 14 with mercury, and 11 with methane, as well as rules on auto emissions. States and regions were stopped from tracking tailpipe emissions.

There has been wide coverage of approval of offshore drilling, and oil and gas pipelines, as well as major cuts in budget and staffing, including scientists. 1600 staffers have quit; half are due to retire, but only 400 replacements have been hired. The 2019 Clean Power Plan was scrapped. Climate Change was dropped from the list of security threats. EPA dropped Obama’s calculations of the social cost of carbon emissions. Also FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) has nixed a climate change strategic plan.

In October the United Nations warned that we have twelve years to limit a climate warming to 1.5C. or we risk catastrophe. Even half a degree will worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty. In May the UN warned that a million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. Fortunately, there are dozens of active local environmental groups. Mike Riders in Repose. Cars Suck! activists pose near Dippy the Dino in Oakland. Photo provided by the author. Stout of the Isaak Walton League has been meeting with a number of them to encourage them to band together to form a united front for urgent action, outreach and education to build a more powerful movement. Get involved. Contact miststout629@ gmail.com.

Much can be done at the state, county and city level. It’s happening around the U.S. It can happen here. Environmentalist Mark Dixon is on the TMC Board. Go to his Facebook page to watch a dynamic panel sponsored by the League. One speaker gave a chilling talk on the cracker plant under construction in Beaver County. The state has helped underwrite this environmental disaster so we can have more plastics!?!

On May 10 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a report on The League’s April 30th program. It featured Dianne Peterson, who provided many practical ideas on how to cut back on our use of many everyday plastics. Just picture the whales and other sea life choking on plastic straws. Trillions of plastics and contaminants are being dumped in our oceans and inland waterways.

Volunteer Wanda Guthrie, full time TMC Environmental Volunteer, is a great source of information about the many groups and individuals involved with this growing movement. High school students get it.

So must we!

Contact Wanda: wanda.guthrie@ gmail.com. Let’s do it!

Molly Rush is the co-founder of the Thomas Merton Center.

PHOTO: PIXABAY from Pexels.com

Categories: News

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