When congressional Republicans cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget 16 percent as part of a deal with President Obama in April to keep the government running, they hailed it as a blow to a federal bureaucracy that had overreached in its size and ambition.Can someone tell me how Tea Partiers and the like do not see how such moves by Republicans in office are detrimental to their well-being? Our deficit amounts to trillions of dollars and yet Republicans cravenly decide what needs to be done to save some money is cut a measly $1.6 billion from the EPA's already miniscule budget (about $10 billion total). It's obvious the move is a gift to corporate polluters, however Republicans dress it up as curtailing run-away government regulation and the idiotic Tea Party folks just lap it up, gladly accepting the insult to their intelligence. No protest or angry criticism from them, not a peep.
But now that the agency has detailed how it is making the $1.6 billion cut for fiscal 2011, the reality is somewhat different. Because the EPA passes the vast majority of its money through to the states, it has meant that these governments — not Washington — are taking the biggest hits. Already constrained financially at home, state officials have millions of dollars less to enforce the nation’s air- and water-quality laws, fund critical capital improvements and help communities comply with new, more stringent pollution controls imposed by the federal government.
The EPA was a central target for Republicans during the spring budget battle, as they tried to curtail its authority to curb greenhouse gases, mercury and other pollutants. Although lawmakers failed to secure those provisions, they limited the agency’s activities through budget cuts.
Why pound foolish? Many studies show the added health care costs stemming from soot, toxins & other pollutants released into our air and water amount to well over $50 billion per year, not to mention the thousands of premature resulting deaths. In effect, the EPA's meager budget is an absolute bargain both in costs and lives saved.
But again, Republican constituents are seemingly too stupid to realize this simple fact, choosing instead to allow their emotions to rule over rational thinking -- and no one is better at playing on fear and anger than the GOP. Until people wise up to what's truly behind Republican motives, this country will continue to suffer.