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Rigg: House Bill would end Environmental Protection Agency

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While the president has been railing against “fake news,” a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that, under normal circumstances, would have much more coverage if the president wasn’t stealing the show.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) introduced House Resolution 861 early last month. The resolution has three co-sponsors, all Republicans.

H.R. 861 has only one provision: “The Environment Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

Yes, the bill would end the EPA in its entirety. In fact, H.R. 861 is named “To terminate the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The EPA began operations on Dec. 2, 1970. President Richard Nixon signed an executive order, establishing the agency. Committees in the House and Senate ratified the order.

The mission of the EPA, as stated on its website, is “to protect human health and the environment.” EPA’s purpose is to ensure that, among other things, “all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work,” “federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively” and “the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment,” as stated on the EPA’s website.

To end the EPA would be a disaster waiting to happen. If a federal agency dedicated to protecting human health and the environment ends, that would be the end of regulations designed to protect them would be thrown out the window.

Laws such as the Clean Water Act would not be implemented as thoroughly as they are under the EPA. Clean water helps keep people alive, so with no federal agency ensuring it stays clean, lives will be lost.

Besides risks to the environment and human health, thousands would be out of a job. According to the EPA’s budget and spending page on its website, the EPA employed 15,376 people, more than half of which are engineers, scientists and environmental protection specialists.

H.R. 861, which has so far only been introduced in the House, has a chance to be killed before it even crosses the desk of the president. Call your representatives in Washington and tell them not to vote in favor of H.R. 861. Make sure they know lives are at stake with this resolution.

Kansans also have a chance to make sure a representative who supports the EPA heads to Congress in an upcoming special election for thae 4th District. Research the nominees in that election (Republican Ron Estes, Democrat James Thompson and Libertarian Chris Rockhold) and their stance on the environment and EPA. The special election is April 11. Pick someone who would not support H.R. 861.

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