A top official working with the Environmental Protection Agency announced her resignation, saying that the Trump administration’s anti-regulatory and anti-environment policies affecting the agency are partially the reason for her departure.
Elizabeth Southerland worked as an EPA employee for three decades and was recently promoted to Director of the Office of Science and Technology at the EPA’s Water office.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) obtained her resignation letter, in which the departing official warns that the Trump administration’s anti-regulatory stance can put at risk the very mission of the EPA.
Southerland also slammed the agency’s head Scott Pruitt for his efforts to leave states to decide on environmental protection by cutting federal funds. She believes that trimming federal funding could force states to either hike taxes or become less engaged in environmental protection.
Southerland disagrees with the Trump White House’s policy to kill an old regulation for every new regulation passed. She noted that the policy forces the EPA to repeal old regulations such as those protecting kids from neurotoxins to make room for new ones such as rules to protect those kids’ parents from a newly-discovered chemical that harms the liver.
‘Regulatory Paralysis’ Looming over the Agency
The outgoing official projects that such rules could only lead to a “regulatory paralysis,” which would be the best-case scenario for the American people. On the other hand, Pruitt is now busy repealing more than two dozen environmental rules such as the Clean Water rule and plan, which force oil and gas companies to keep a closer watch on their emissions on public lands.
If the EPA no longer mandates that polluters pay, the bill would have to be footed by states, local communities, and tribes. As a result, our grandchildren would pay those bills through higher taxes, fees, and sewer and water bills, the official warns.
But Southerland has one more reason to be upset about. “Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth,” she said about the EPA and Trump administration’s denial of climate science.
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