GOP Wrong In Blaming EPA For Economic Woes

According to Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the Environmental Protection Agency is the “job-killing organization of America.” Oh yes, of course, the EPA is the root of all our economic problems. It has nothing to do with high interest rates and various bank bailouts. Forget the massive debt that continues to plague our government after years of war. The EPA is to blame. Why didn’t I think of that?

Well, probably because it’s absurd.

The GOP, an anti-regulation machine, believes that the EPA is destroying the economy with all of its costly rules. The regulations imposed on businesses and corporations force companies to spend more money to adhere to the rules; thus, workers become unaffordable and lose their jobs. Global warming’s supposed nonexistence also seems to be a popular view amongst GOP members. If greenhouse gases and carbon emissions are not actually detrimental to our planet’s health, then what’s the point of the EPA?

Before looking into how the EPA is single-handedly killing the United States, let’s just take a moment to look at what the EPA does to help our planet (a planet that — despite Texas Governor Rick Perry’s claim that global warming does not exist — is increasingly threatened by manmade pollution). To counteract the harm that people inflict on the planet every day, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s uses her seven priorities to create the guidelines for the EPA’s goals to fulfill its ultimate plan: taking action on climate change and improving air quality, protecting America’s waters, cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development, ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution and enforcing environmental laws.

According to the 2010 EPA Performance Report, the EPA took various steps towards creating a healthier planet in the previous year. For example, the EPA:

proposed legislation to reach the 2022 goal to reduce air pollution to improve public health

created projects to ensure safe drinking water

improved the ability to detect harmful chemicals quickly and correctly

provided incentives to the public, corporations, and governments to work towards a more sustainable community

signed two significant findings on causes of global warming.

Nonetheless, these good works cannot sway the minds of the conservatives. Perry filed a lawsuit against the EPA, saying that the imposed carbon regulations will lead to “sweeping mandates and draconian punishments, undoing decades of progress, painting entrepreneurs as selfish and destroying hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.”

Recently, many GOP candidates are taking an “all or nothing” approach to the controversial issues in the upcoming election and the current economy tops the list. Cutting costs is a must and any program consuming more than its fair share should be put on the chopping block. Thus, the EPA continues to reap the GOP’s harsh words. Perhaps companies will have to spend more to abide by EPA regulations and will sacrifice some workers. However, doing away with the entire EPA will also kill thousands of jobs. Not only would disposing of the agency end 17,000 jobs, it would also lead our planet down a path of self-destruction. Perhaps getting rid of the EPA will increase job availability — after employees die from lead-paint exposure, there will be plenty of openings.

The GOP needs to stop accusing the EPA of ruining our economy. Spending money on abiding by regulations is the price we pay for living in a healthier, safer world for everyone. However, it’s a price our government must be willing to take. The GOP should not use the EPA, or any other program for that matter, as a scapegoat. Fixing the economy will take more than butchering one program and candidates need to understand that fact and understand it soon.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Meredith Medoway

Meredith is a sophomore at American University. She studies Political Science and is most interested in environmental and food politics. She is also a dedicated equestrian and enjoys cooking.

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