Columns, Opinion

American Protest: EPA transparency is false

The Environmental Protection Agency is limiting the scope of science. Why?

The EPA has furthered its political agenda this past week, and this time it is in the name of “transparency.” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has decided to limit what types of science the EPA can use when developing policies.

In limiting the EPA, the policies and goals of the Trump administration are being pushed forward. In other words, we have entered into an era opposite of progress that will have detrimental long-term consequences.

It is common knowledge that much of the information the EPA utilizes is private health information that cannot be disclosed, such as health records that helps link health problems with air pollution or exposure to hazardous materials.

Critics have pointed out that this new policy will prevent the agency from relying on landmark studies linking air pollution and pesticide exposure to detrimental health effects.

I simply do not understand why the current administration is so bent on ignoring possible health hazards and taking away the EPA’s ability to prevent or recognize health hazards. Their only argument for this is “transparency,” but what does that mean?

From what I can tell, the only rationale behind this “transparency” is to strengthen the validity of the EPA. This makes it sound as if the EPA has had scandals in which their claims were invalid, but I have yet to hear of that happening.

Instead, Pruitt is attempting to fix something that is not broken. Information scientists need to access in order to prove that there is a public health threat should not be restricted.

In fact, it is quite ironic that the EPA is using transparency as a form of limitation when this administration has been anything but transparent. The public has dealt with lie after lie and scandal after scandal the past year, and yet Trump expects us to believe that the EPA is what needs fixing.

The EPA is not what we need to tamper with right now. There are thousands of other things in this country that are actually broken and need to be fixed. Maybe we could get the president to release his tax returns — I think that would really embody the transparency that is apparently so necessary.

An alternative solution to limiting the EPA’s power would be expanding it to really study the effects of climate change. Environmental refugees are going to become a big problem on this planet, and we need to start figuring out how to equip ourselves for that and how soon this problem could arise.

Another focus the EPA could take is expanding renewable energy options instead of continuing down our destructive path of using gas and oil. These resources will run out someday, and we should start sooner rather than later in figuring out how we are going to power the entire world without non-renewable energy.

As we sit here and debate whether science should be restricted or not, the planet is coming closer and closer to destruction. Clearly, the issues we are facing right now are much more intense and important than what is actually being focused on. It seems as though we’d rather create problems than fix them.

It is time for the EPA to address the real problems at hand and admit that climate change is an issue we must address. Making it harder for scientists to do their work is not the answer.

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