READ THROUGH TO THE END….Protecting the environment seems to be on everyone’s mind these days. Constituents encourage their representatives to propose carbon legislation. Grassroots environmental groups protest polluters. Average citizens concerned with global warmingtake simple measures to reduce their carbon footprints. But only one organization has the ability to establish and enforce the environmental policy of the United States: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA exists to protect human health and the environment.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 10 regional offices around the country, the EPA creates and enforces regulations that enact environmental legislation. So while Congress sets environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, it’s up to the EPA to determine how the United States will reach the goals laid out by the legislation. The agency delegates some of its permit-issuing and policy enforcement responsibilities to states and American Indian tribes.


If you live near an ocean, now may be the time to put your house on stilts. FEMA has a guide. One government group that apparently won’t be much help in the days and years to come, however, is the Environmental Protection Agency. Under the stewardship of President Trump, the floodgates of the climate crisis will swing open to boost economic growth and ensure that the salty water of the Atlantic and Pacific will come running down our city streets sooner than ever.

It’s been a rough week for the agency. We are rapidly approaching the Senate confirmation of Scott Pruitt, a man who has filed or joined more than two dozen lawsuits against the EPA. He’ll soon lead it. Pruitt has pledged not to recuse himself from those cases, meaning, as Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce put it, “Scott Pruitt can negotiate a settlement between Scott Pruitt and Scott Pruitt.” Since those lawsuits are targeting regulations on carbon emissions, water pollution, and how much mercury and arsenic power plants can emit—among plenty of others—we can safely assume Pruitt will set out to Make the World a Better Place if he is confirmed.

Meanwhile, the EPA is already showing off its new way of doing things before Pruitt takes the reins. Both ProPublica and The Huffington Post report that the agency has frozen all its grant programs. The grants provide funding for “research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things,” according to HuffPost, and nixing them could, in the assessment of ProPublica, “affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing.” Sweet.

This also has immediate consequences for the men and women who provide these services thanks to EPA grants:

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