Agitate, America!: The Environmental Protection Agency was a Republican idea

Nancy Churchill

By Nancy Churchill
A Progressive Visionary

The Republicans’ economic policy seems to be to champion what’s good for American global corporations in this election. But what’s good for giant corporations is not good for Americans.

Clean air is good for Americans, but corporations don’t breathe the air and have no need for it. And if Republicans take control of the government, as they will if Mitt Romney is elected president, they’ve pledged to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and accompanying regulations.

As incredible as it seems now, the architect of what became President Richard Nixon’s EPA way back in 1970 was a Republican, Russell Train, according to Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman (Sept. 27, 2012).

Quoting his New York Times obituary, the first chairman of Nixon’s White House Council on Environmental Quality created “the world’s first comprehensive program for scrubbing the skies and waters of pollution, ensuring the survival of ecologically significant plants and animals, and safeguarding citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals.”

Imagine that! A Republican who cared about clean air and water, plants and animals!

So, what happened? Today’s Republicans aim to shut down the EPA they once created. They stand squarely against anything resembling oversight of deepwater oil drilling (even after the 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster), and champion the practice of injecting the ground with highly-pressurized fluid (otherwise known as fracking) without an accounting of what toxic chemicals are used, or how much water is contaminated in the process.

Since they don’t drink the water or breathe the air, corporations reject regulations that might require expensive clean-up operations to meet clean air and water standards. Keeping air and water clean costs money, which cuts profits, their only lifeblood.

But what’s with Republicans? Are they not human? Have they morphed into some otherworldly creatures that exist solely on profit, too, just like their corporate paymasters, and no longer need to breathe the air or drink the water like the rest of us?

Republicans seem to think they have converged with corporations, become so like them as to swap the corporate need for profit with their human need for life. Or they may think pollution won’t matter in whatever time they have left on the planet. But even if they don’t care about the rest of us, don’t they care about their grandchildren?

So, even as giant multinationals have enjoyed more profit in the last few years than anyone has in the history of the world, Republicans aim to boost them more. Humans can only eat so much food, but corporations can never get enough profit!

True to form, they advocate “making a killing,” a phrase that translates into making a lot of money at the expense of others. That’s beneath us humans. Rather, we should be “making a living,” or focusing only on that which creates the most life for ourselves, our families, communities and nation, as well as our planet.

We can do without a corporation or two, but we must have our air to live!

Highlights of Nancy Churchill’s life are growing up in Congo, Africa, until she was 15, racing stock cars as an adult from 1976 until 2001, and writing as a liberal political junkie since the early ’90s. She lives in Oregon, Ill.

From the Oct. 10-16, 2012, issue

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