House Republican Introduces Bill To Terminate The Environmental Protection Agency
“Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money.” — Cree Indian Prophecy
H. R. 861 is a bill proposed by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). The bill’s purpose is simple: “A Bill to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.” If passed the EPA would dissolve on Dec. 31, 2018. Actions such as these border on being criminally insane. The damage unfettered industry will inflict on our planet and all living things upon it is unimaginable.
I am old enough to remember an America without the Environmental Protection Agency. An America in which our major cities and industrial areas were covered in a thick cloud of toxic pollution every day. Smog became part of the national lexicon. It was also a time when many of our rivers and streams, our lakes and ponds, and our precious and delicate wetlands faced destruction by pollution from the profit before people twentieth-century Robber Barons.
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In America, we have great natural resources that provide us with a sense of awe at the beauty and power of nature. Additionally, these hallowed grounds afford us the opportunities to get away from the craziness of our day-to-day lives and routines. Eliminating the EPA and the “regulations” that keep our air and water clean is a health risk to our nation. Just as importantly, shutting down the agency will indeed result in Americans losing jobs.
A clean and healthy environment is good for the economy
In Florida alone, eco-tourism has become a thriving industry that produces jobs and significant amounts of money to the State’s revenue stream. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity reports that in 2011 eco-tourism produced nearly a billion dollars in revenue and over 19,000 jobs.
Florida’s 160 state parks also bring a significant positive economic benefit to local economies, with a total of 20.4 million visitors in 2011. The total statewide economic impact of all Florida state parks was $967.3 million in 2011, and the parks created 19,347 jobs.9 The annual economic impact of and jobs created by the State’s four largest springs are as follows:10
- Ichetucknee Springs – $22.7 million and 311 jobs
- Wakulla Springs – $22.2 million and 347 jobs
- Homosassa Springs – $13.6 million and 206 jobs
- Volusia Blue Springs – $10.0 million and 174 jobs
Think Progess reported in 2013 on a study by the Office of Management and Budget that found “… the benefits EPA regulations bring to the economy far outweigh the costs.”
The OMB found that a decade’s worth of major federal rules had produced annual benefits to the U.S. economy of between $193 billion and $800 billion and impose aggregate costs of $57 billion to $84 billion.
Republicans once again don’t understand their own history
Perhaps a history lesson is in order for the scoundrels in Congress. Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, started the National Parks so Americans could enjoy the great outdoors. Nixon, another Republican, created the EPA to protect the great outdoors for our citizens. Somehow, I don’t think either of them would support this act of stupidocity put forth by Mr. Gaetz.
The Republican-controlled Congress, emboldened by the Russian Puppet in the Oval Office, see the next four years as the window of opportunity to destroy any and all government protections for “we the people” so they can enrich themselves and their evil corporate overlords. In the face of overwhelming evidence that terminating the EPA will be bad for the environment and bad for the economy, Republicans push on with their desired plan to destroy our Democratic Republic.
The love of money truly is at the root of all evil.
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