Jackson sees this reduction in resources as a major problem for the future, claiming “If Congress slashed EPA’s funding, concentrations of harmful pollution would increase from current levels in the places Americans live, work, go to school, fish, hike, and hunt. The result would be more asthma attacks, more missed school and work days, more heart attacks, more cancer cases, more premature deaths, and more polluted waters.”
The GOP leaders behind the bill see flailing business as a major issue in backing this cut of the EPA’s budgets. Many business leaders have been outspoken about the amount of money that EPA regulations are costing them in the long run. This is mainly involving the EPA’s plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, refineries, factories and other sources. Of course, giving these factories free rein to bypass regulations would likely mean an increase in some areas of business revenue and more jobs.
While some of what Lisa Jackson of the EPA has to say is certainly frightening, some of these health risks are not to be taken lightly. Without the full pallet of resources for the EPA, air quality and pollution control will likely take a hit. That hit will likely accompany an increase in long term health risks such as cancer, mesothelioma, and some less severe risks such as breathing problems and asthma. The end result can also be risking lives, as mesothelioma life expectancy is usually under 14 months following diagnosis.
Lisa Jackson also points towards the fact that reducing health risks will also be saving citizens thousands in medical bills that would arise, given the increase in poor air quality and toxins. She says “changes would prevent 6,800 to 17,000 premature deaths a year, and save as much as $140 billion in annual medical bills and work days lost to asthma attacks and other breathing problems.”
It’s important to remember that many of the businesses losing money will indeed continue to push contaminants into the air if EPA emission restrictions end up being dropped. Certainly Jackson has her points and health risks would likely increase as well, with increased emissions, particularly in areas around these factories.
When it comes to federal budget cuts, they should be calculated and benefit the people of the country at the end of the line. The cutting of the EPA budget has certainly sparked a give and take debate with two sides that have valid points. While the thought of reduced gas prices and increased jobs in factories may fulfill happiness in the short run, the long term health risks associated with pollution, toxins and chemicals are not to be taken lightly.