From presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to Rep. Cantor, conservative politicians want to gut the protections that keep our families healthy and hold reckless companies accountable – all under the guise of creating jobs. When they say they want to "cut regulations," they mean give big business carte blanche to do whatever they want.
Opponents of common-sense safeguards have been repeating the same rhetoric for more than a century, but the fact is that the benefits to our economy far outweigh the costs.The truth is that they don't want you to know about the toxic chemicals polluters are putting into our food, air, and water. And they don't want to make polluters pay to clean up their mess or cover your medical care when they make you sick.
No agency has come under more fire from conservatives than the Environmental Protestion Agency, EPA. Check out this factsheet on the EPA. When you're sitting at Thanksgiving dinner and your Uncle Lou talks about ending the EPA, you can remind him that the water he is drinking is safeguarded by the EPA and that this agency was put in place by the (hardly-liberal) Richard Nixon.
Fire! on the Cuyahoga River
- On June 1969, sparks from a railroad car set fire to oil- and chemical-soaked rubbish in the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, and the badly polluted river burst into flames. This event led to the eventual creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- By 1970, 66% of the nation’s lakes, rivers, and coastal waters were unsafe for swimming or fishing.
- December 1970, the EPA was created through Executive Order of President Richard Nixon. Its mission: to “protect human health by safeguarding the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land on which we live.”
The water we drink—Early actions
- Clean Water Act of 1972: Purpose: To restore the nation’s polluted waters and “maintain the integrity” of the America’s waters and wetlands.
- The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1972 was between the USA and Canada. Purpose: To clean up the Great Lakes, which contain 95% of USA’s fresh water and supply drinking water to more than 20 million people.
The air we breathe—Early action
- The Clean Air Act of 1970 reduced lead, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and many other pollutants in the air. By 1990, the Clean Air Act was credited with preventing 200,000 premature deaths.
- Airborne lead throughout the country has been reduced 89%, and the blood levels of lead in adults and children have dropped more than 80%.
- Cars today emit 75-90% less pollution than cars in the 1970s. Los Angeles, for example, has accomplished a 31% reduction in smog despite a 137% increase in vehicle miles.
- In 2004, 71% of the water in rivers and streams assessed by the EPA were determined to be of “good” quality as opposed to 66% deemed “impaired” in the 1970s.
This factsheet was created by Virginia Organizing Fredericksberg Chapter Member Ginny Downie.