Response: Let EPA Do Its Job

Posted on June 24, 2011 

Today’s letter, “Let EPA do its job,” states that “some in Congress are intent on handcuffing, crippling and blocking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce harmful air pollution.” This claim is wildly misinformed.

In February, the House passed a long-term budget proposal that made a series of tough but necessary decisions to reduce spending.  Like so many other programs, spending reductions made for the EPA follow numerous years of increases and billions in additional stimulus funds. The EPA alone received a budget increase of 32% in recent years.  This measure in no way impedes the EPA from carrying out its underlying mission and represents a net increase in appropriations from the previous fiscal year. The final bill was a bipartisan agreement between Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate and was ultimately signed into law by President Obama. 

Despite what the author would like the public to believe, air quality management has improved significantly in the 41 years since President Richard Nixon signed the Clean Air Act into law. In addition to the criteria pollutants of ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead, the hundreds of hazardous air pollutants expressly identified in the Clean Air Act continue to be subject to regulation. Congress has taken no such action to weaken this critically important law or prevent EPA from continuing to regulate all the pollutants the agency has historically regulated.

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