I vividly remember Los Angeles smog. Living in LA from 1956 to 1972, I recall my eyes burning and experiencing shortness of breath. I drove to college over the Mulholland Pass on the 405 Freeway and into the San Fernando Valley, descending into the grey/orange soup that passed for air.
It’s different now. When I visit I can see the snow on the San Bernardino Mountains in the winter. Point Dume is usually visible from Redondo Beach, and Catalina Island looms huge and near on the clearest days.
The Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970 during the administration of President Richard M. Nixon.
Its first director was William Ruckelshaus, who with his boss, Elliot Richardson, resigned their positions within the Justice Department rather than obey an order from President Nixon to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, who was investigating official misconduct on the part of the president and his aides.
In 1983, with the EPA in crisis due to mass resignations over the mishandling of the Superfund project,  President Ronald Reagan appointed Ruckelshaus to serve as EPA Administrator again. (Wikipedia).
Over the years, the EPA created and enforced the guidelines, rules and even regulations (YIKES!!) that led to purer water and cleaner air. Mr. Trump’s first budget is ruthless. It proposes cuts to medical research, education, the State Department and a 31% reduction in funding for the EPA budget. It will also decrease taxes for businesses and the wealthiest Americans while adding funding for Homeland Security and his stupid wall.
The same budget while increasing by 9% funding for the military budget, though the US military budget is larger than the budgets of China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UK, India, France and Japan COMBINED. (http://www.pgpf.org/Chart-Archive/0053_defense-comparison)
The EPA proposal would slash funding for enforcing regulations, fighting water pollution, cleaning up sites contaminated by toxic waste and promoting energy-efficient appliances. It would eliminate 3,200 EPA employees, or 19 percent of the agency’s workforce.
It would effectively erase former President Barack Obama’s initiatives to combat climate change by cutting funding for the agency’s signature Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, disputes the scientific consensus that human actions are the lead cause of climate change. In his former position as attorney general of oil-producing Oklahoma, he sued the EPA more than a dozen times. (Reuters, March 16, 2017)
When I compare the LA air in 1970 to today’s air I see clear progress. When I compare Willian Ruckelshaus, first EPA Administrator in 1970, to Scott Pruitt, I see a grey/orange haze and I can barely breathe.
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