January 18, 2017
President-elect Trump has repeatedly said that he intends to be a President for all Americans. His appointment of E. Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency is a troubling sign that perhaps he didn’t have Long Islanders in mind.
In countless ways, Long Island depends on the EPA to safeguard our quality of life by protecting our natural environment. EPA works to clean the air we breathe, which has consistently failed to meet air quality standards over the past decade. Future improvements are dependent on EPA’s ability to address pollution from power plants, automobiles and other sources – some of the very rules that Mr. Pruitt has long sought to undermine. Similarly, EPA helps to safeguard our drinking water – our aquifer was the first in the nation to be recognized by the agency’s Sole Source Aquifer Protection Program. Long Island also benefits significantly from EPA’s National Estuaries Program, as three of the nation’s 28 national estuaries are in our region: Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay and the NY/NJ Harbor.
Perhaps of greatest long-term concern is sea level rise. Long Island is on the front-line of climate change, with hundreds of thousands living on the ocean’s edge. Superstorm Sandy made troublingly clear how many of our communities are at significant risk, even at current sea levels. The long-term future of Long Island’s coastal communities depends on immediate, aggressive efforts to minimize sea level rise by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, while Long Islanders deal with the sea level rise that’s already here, Mr. Pruitt is still debating the facts of climate change.
EPA has always had its critics. And calls for rollback of the agency’s rules have been often repeated. However, Mr. Pruitt has taken this stance to another level. In his role as Oklahoma’s Attorney General he filed suit after suit in an attempt to undermine water and air protections and dismantle EPA’s authority. His own website brags that he’s a “leading advocate against EPA’s activist agenda.” Making him the agency’s Administrator is literally like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. For the sake of Long Island’s air and water - and the very quality of our life along our shore - we urge New York’s Congressional delegation to oppose Mr. Pruitt’s nomination.
Fire Island - Randy Levine, 2013 - All Rights Reserved