5 Reasons Why We Need The Environmental Protection Agency

5 Reasons Why We Need The Environmental Protection Agency

“Protecting human health and the environment.”
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The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or USEPA) is a federal government agency initiated by President Richard Nixon. Nixon signed an executive order in December of 1970 and the EPA was born. The purpose of the EPA is to protect the environment by setting regulations and enforcing laws passed by Congress. The EPA is not a cabinet department, but the leader is usually given the power of a cabinet position. The EPA's plan “identifies the measurable environmental and human health outcomes the public can expect from EPA and describes how we intend to achieve those results.” Here are five reasons why we need the EPA in our lives:

1. To make sure companies dispose of their hazardous waste properly

Before the EPA, American environmental tragedies such as Love Canal turned families' lives upside down. Love Canal was an abandoned canal project off the Niagara River, which is about four miles south of Niagara Falls. This unfinished canal was used by Hooker Chemical Company as a dump for chemical waste from 1942 to 1953. When Hooker Chemical Company was finished dumping into the canal, there were around 21,000 tons of toxic chemicals in the area. The company covered the 16-acre chemical landfill with clay and dirt before selling it to Niagara Falls Schools with a warning of the toxins in the area. When the school was built right near the chemical dump, children attending the school and families living in the area acquired many diseases and illnesses. In 1976, after years of issues and complaints, the city and county finally started an investigation. The study by Calspan Corporation found that the canal area had toxic chemical residues in the air and sump pumps in many homes, which are commonly found in basements.

2. The Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act regulates the levels of many toxic substances in the air such as mercury and arsenic. One of the most influential updates to the act was in 1990 when the EPA was allowed to regulate and reduce a number of sulfur dioxide emissions, which is one of the main causes of acid rain (from power plants).

3. The Clean Water Act

In 1972, the Clean Water Act was enacted and gave the EPA authorization to set national standards for water and to make sure all cities and companies complied. The main problems weren’t just companies dumping wastes into rivers and lakes. Before 1970, many cities dumped sewage into waterways with very little or no treatment; therefore, waterways were highly contaminated causing fish kills and algae blooms.

4. To control climate change

Climate change has been evident since the mid to late 20th century with evidence such as sea levels rising, global temperature increases, warming of oceans and shrinking ice sheets. All of this entails changes in rainfall, flooding, droughts and more frequent and severe heat waves. These events surrounding climate change are caused by increased releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere mainly produced as a waste product of fossil fuel energy. Other causes of climate change also include greenhouse gasses such as methane from agricultural pollution, especially in livestock production.

5. We need to protect the Earth for future generations

When thinking about the future of our planet, it is important to remember that if every person on the planet lived like an American, we would need the amount of resources from five planets to sustain our lifestyles. With our ever-changing planet, worries arise when human-caused changes in climate are doubted. As Americans, our over-consumption, "quantity over quality" methods of production and throw-away practices need to be regulated in order to reverse major environmental mistakes of the past.

Earth’s history dates back about 4 billion years. Humans have only been around for about 200,000 years and we have made a large impact on the environment. With more than 7 billion people on the planet, questions about sustainability come into play. There has been so much environmental change in such a short period of time that scientists are calling this time the Anthropocene or “the age of humans.” This new geologic age encompasses the rise of the usage of fossil fuels, industrialization of agriculture, and urbanization of over half of the world’s population. There have been many changes in Earth’s history — the continents shifted, animals went extinct and climates changed. What is most worrisome about this geologic age is that humans are a large driving force in Earth’s recent changes. We are literally shaping the future of our planet, and we have to decide what we want things to be like in the years to come. We can be the change.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Beto O'Rourke Is The Future For The Democratic Party

Democrats need a new voice, and now they have him.

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As a self-professed progressive, the 2016 presidential election was one of the darkest days of my life. Every day I wish that the election had turned out differently. But if there's a silver lining, the Democratic Party has almost completely reinvented itself and has a chance to move forward.

Barack Obama was an amazing leader for the party for a decade. Hillary Clinton was arguably the most-flawed candidate the modern-day Democratic Party has ever nominated, and she lost to the most-flawed Republican ever nominated. So now the Democrats need someone to look up to and lead the way past the regressive presidency of Donald Trump. That man is Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke is a representative of Texas's 16th congressional district, which covers the city of El Paso. But right now people in the political world know him as the guy who is running against arguably the most-hated man in the Senate, Ted Cruz. Former House Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner once said that Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

Cruz prides himself in being hated by Washington politicians, but hatred from his current colleagues could come back to bite him. "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," said Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina.

If O'Rourke wins in November, he'll take down Cruz, who is one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington despite being hated. And it could launch Beto to even higher office someday.

Even if he loses to Cruz, Beto has an extremely bright future ahead of him because he's just what the Democratic Party needs right now. He's young, passionate, communicates extremely well and is a perfect representation of what the face of the party should be.

This year, O'Rourke has been setting an example of how Democrats should run their campaigns. Beto has traveled to every single one of Texas's 254 counties. Ever since the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United v. FEC (2010), Democrats have pushed for campaign finance reform, and O'Rourke is leading by example with his campaign. Beto has taken $0 from Political Action Committees (PACs). All of his money comes from individual donors. Cruz has taken PAC money, but O'Rourke still holds a significant advantage in fundraising.

O'Rourke in his campaign emphasizes that Texas has among the highest immigration populations in the United States, but the senators from Texas, Cruz and John Cornyn, do not accurately represent the diversity of the state. O'Rourke has separated himself from Cruz by speaking out against the proposed border wall and the separation of immigrant children at the border.

I'm not from Texas, but I'm just as excited for this senate race as I was when Doug Jones won in my home state almost a year ago. Beto O'Rourke has an opportunity to make positive change in our country and actually bring people together. If he doesn't win in November, Beto should make plans for 2020 because he can become the face of the Democratic Party.

If you'd like to learn more about, join, or donate to the campaign, here is a link.

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