Former EPA chiefs warn Trump team presents 'gravest threat' to America's health


Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is no longer doing its job, according to several people who led the EPA under other presidents.

Former leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appeared before Congress on Tuesday and slammed the Trump administration for giving preference to corporate polluters over the health of American families.

"There seem to be a number of ways that EPA is undermining its own mission to protect public health and our precious natural resources," Gina McCarthy, President Obama's EPA chief, said in her written testimony to the oversight subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The EPA "is going backwards on health protections in favor of lowering costs to polluting industries at every turn," McCarthy said.

The Trump administration has rolled back key regulations on air and water pollution, McCarthy noted, and is using "dangerous and insidious strategies" to completely change how the EPA does its work.

Those actions, she said, "present the gravest threat to EPA and to the health of American families" and could "weaken or even eliminate the ability of the agency to do its job for the American people."

Republicans on the panel shared McCarthy’s concerns.

Christine Todd Whitman, who served under George W. Bush, said that under the Trump administration, “the mission of EPA is being seriously undermined by the very people who have been entrusted with carrying that mission out.”

Whitman also warned that the Trump administration’s excessive loyalty to corporate interests could do serious harm.

"By all accounts, industry has captured EPA’s regulatory process," Whitman said. "This is a disaster for the agency, the environment, and public health."

McCarthy and Whitman were joined by William K. Reilly, who served under George H.W. Bush, and Lee Thomas, who served under Ronald Reagan. All four former EPA chiefs expressed concerns about how the EPA is handling health issues.

Trump’s EPA has made a lot of headlines lately for disregarding or endangering human health.

In early May, the EPA defended the use of a weed-killer that the World Health Organization said probably causes cancer.

Later that month, the EPA said it wants to use an unproven method to defend allowing coal-fueled power plants to spew more toxins into the air.

When it comes to choosing between the health of people or the profits of corporate polluters, the Trump administration's policies show a clear preference for the latter.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.