Elizabeth Southerland, director of the Office of Science and Technology in EPA’s Office of Water resigned from her position, dramatically claiming that she was “heartbroken about the impact of the new administration on environmental protection in this country.”
She claims that the, “EPA has been the guiding light to make the ‘right thing’ happen for the greater good, including public health and safety” and that with President Trump in charge, “that will not be possible under the current administration.”
“The proposed FY18 budget cuts to state, tribal, and federal environmental programs would result in thousands of jobs lost in the short term, in EPA, state and tribal governments, and the private environmental consulting firms which support those governmental agencies,” Southerland continued to whine.
EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox addressed Southerland’s abrupt actions, saying, “It’s hard to believe that Elizabeth Southerland is retiring because of a budget proposal and not because she’s eligible for her government pension.” Wilcox continued, “We wish Elizabeth Southerland the best in her retirement, and the EPA will continue to refocus on our core mission of protecting our air, land and water.”
Southerland said she quit because of “major budget cuts” to the EPA that have yet to even occur. She claimed that she disagrees with the Trump administration’s deregulation agenda and argued that “our children and grandchildren” will have to pay the price in the future. Interestingly enough, she utterly failed to mention the impact of massive national debt on, “our children and grandchildren” that have resulted from gangbusters budgets for the EPA under the Obama-era.
“The major budget cuts to EPA, state, and tribal environmental programs and the potential repeal of many existing regulations and science documents is not a cooperative federalism approach,” Southerland continued. “It is an industry deregulation approach based on abandonment of the polluter pays principle that underlies all environmental statutes and regulations. When the federal government abandons the polluter pays principle, it will be up to the states, tribes and local government to decide how much of the polluters’ bills they will ask their residents to take on.”
“The best case for our children and grandchildren is that they will pay the polluters’ bills through increased state taxes, new user fees, and higher water and sewer bills,” Southerland said. “The worst case is that they will have to live with increased public health and safety risks and a degraded environment.”
“There is no question,” she continued, “the administration is seriously weakening EPA’s mission by vigorously pursuing an industry deregulation approach and defunding implementation of environmental programs.”
Southerland argued that the Trump administrations requirement to repeal one regulation; each time a new regulation was irresponsible, asking, “should EPA repeal two existing rules protecting infants from neurotoxins in order to promulgate a new rule protecting adults from a newly discovered liver toxin? Faced with such painful choices, the best possible outcome for the American people would be regulatory paralysis where no new rules are released so that existing protections remain in place.”