To the editor:
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon. On June 22, 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, caught fire for the 13th time in 100 years. While the scientists responsible for the moon landing were celebrated, scientists warning us about impending environmental disasters were largely ignored. The fire did help Congress to initiate the Environmental Protection Agency under President Nixon.
Over the next several years, because of public pressure, our country made major strides in cleaning up the environment. The cleanup was made primarily because of new, strict regulations prohibiting industry and private citizens from just dumping waste wherever convenient and levying large fines on those who did.
These regulations helped clean up the water we drink, the air we breathe and even helped remove trash along the road that was so obvious in the 1960s. They helped bring a dead Lake Erie back to life, helped bring back our national symbol, the bald eagle, back from the brink of extinction. Salmon and steelhead populations have increased because of these regulations.
Now, President Trump has proposed a budget which would decrease the EPA’s funding by about one-third and cripple its ability to enforce. His administration has been replacing environmental scientists with industry representatives on the advisory/regulatory boards, putting corporate profit ahead of environmental and human health. Many of our most dangerous pollutants are invisible and require highly qualified people and sophisticated equipment to monitor. The EPA needs an adequate budget to protect us.
Our US Rep. Greg Walden, (202)225-6730, chairs the Energy and Commerce committee overseeing the EPA. Please let him know that a strong EPA is in our best interests. Not all regulations are bad for the economy.