OPINION: Protect the Environmental Protection Agency


President Donald Trump has been no friend to the environment, from his constant railing against environmental regulations to his claim that climate change is a hoax made up by the Chinese.

Now it seems that his rhetoric might have stuck with Congress. In February a representative from Florida introduced HR 861, which provides legislators with the means to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.

I felt this was a good time to talk about what the EPA does and debunk a few common arguments they might use to get rid of it.

First off, the EPA was created by Richard Nixon, a Republican president, in order to “protect human health and the environment,” as their home page states. They have several important pieces of legislation, including the Clean Water Act, which regulates pollutants in surface water, and the Endangered Species Act, which uses the Fish and Wildlife Services to ensure that actions carried out by the government, or otherwise, will not result “in the destruction or modification of a species.” They also work to provide protection from a wide variety of pollutants, such as nuclear waste and material, oil pollutants and food pesticides.

The EPA’s budget for the 2016 fiscal year was approximately $8 billion and was made up in large part by federal grant money, as well as a few business contracts.

However, a report by the Office of Management and Budget shows that for every $41 spent, the public yields a $172 benefit. That’s a gain of $131. Not only does this report show the EPA does actually provide benefit to us, but so does federal regulation, if it is maintained properly.

Even though these facts point out that regulation is good, you still hear many in the GOP, including the president, say that it is “job killing” and “the quiet tyranny of the Nanny State,” as the GOP website states. Many conservatives say they believe dismantling the EPA opens up the opportunity for state and local governments, who are “better equipped” to combat climate change as they see fit.

Let me tell you why that is complete bull—-. As of right now, only 16 states have an environmental policy act in place. Of those 16 states, five have local projects that seek to improve the environment. That is pathetic for the leading contributor to greenhouse emissions and the largest leading contributor to global warming.

Does the EPA kill jobs? Depends on how you look at it. Yes, the EPA regulating how much lead can be in our drinking water could put someone out of business. But isn’t that just removing an outdated job? Much like we do in our economy all the time? If we stopped automobiles from being built simply because we were worried about the effect it would have on those who made horse drawn carriages, it would be a different world.

The point is, the EPA is an overall good that works to improve the lives of We the People. Don’t get caught in the continuing lies you hear from members of the GOP, it does not kill jobs, it doesn’t cost more than it’s worth, and it isn’t a tyrannical government takeover. It is simply keeping in check the safety and livelihood of its citizens.

Kyler Jackson is a sophomore in political science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.