The Public Comments On The EPA’s Strategic Four-Year Plan Are Brutal
Comments are open until October 30th.
It’s been two weeks since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their strategic four-year plan for public comment, and the resulting posts have been brutal in their criticism.
The 38-page document lays out three main goals for the agency. Firstly, to focus on providing Americans with clean air, land and water. Secondly, to “rebalance” the role of the federal government in environmental regulations by giving states more power. And thirdly, to enforce the law “as Congress intended.”
Remarkably, the document does not once mention the terms “climate change”, “carbon dioxide” or “greenhouse gas emissions.”
Lead economist and climate policy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists Rachel Cleetus says the document is “stunning” in its denial.
“This was not an oversight,” she said. “This is a deliberate strategy by this administration.”
So far, it appears as though the public largely agrees with her. There are now approximately 70 public comments on the EPA’s strategic plan, and the majority of them are highly critical of the agency’s new direction.
Many were asking how an agency supposedly dedicated to protecting human health and the environment can avoid the most “pressing and urgent environmental crisis of our time.”
One comment simply said, “Removing an referral to climate change is mind boggling.”
Another wrote that the administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, “will go down as a complete tool who tried to destroy a government agency.”
Some expressed worry that the absence of the term “climate change” meant that the agency was “no longer interested in saving our planet, preserving our environment, or even learning about the science of how Earth works.”
“I am a 33-year-old mother of two from South Carolina,” one woman wrote. “It is alarming and disturbing that this plan does not even mention ‘climate change’ or plans to address it. For the sake of our children and future generations who are going to have to deal with the effects of climate change, I hope the EPA plans to acknowledge and address it.”
Members of the public who have commented were worried that the plan meant the EPA was prioritizing business interests over public health and environmental protections.
“The word climate does not appear at all, while ‘business’ appears no less than 26 times. Where are your priorities?” asked an anonymous member of the public.
“This does more to protect the oil and gas industries than it does to protect the environment,” wrote another, who suggested that the EPA change their name to the “Fossil-fuel Protection Agency” instead.
Several of the comments were quite specific in their criticism. For instance, a commenter who went into great detail about why the EPA’s recent decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan is “idiotic”:
According to a new survey from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, more than 60 percent of Americans think climate change is a problem that the government should address, including 80 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of Republicans.
With such widespread enthusiasm for federal policies that directly address climate change, it is no wonder that the EPA is receiving so many angry comments from the public.
The public has until October 30th to voice their final opinions on the strategic plan.