Port Townsend Indivisible Environmental Team
Supporting students at the climate strike
We focus on national, regional and local environmental issues, advocating for change in Trump’s environmental policies through education of the public and political activism.
We identify key issues and educate the community on practical actions that can be taken to resist this Presidential Administration and Congress’ efforts to deny the reality of climate change and to issue executive orders and/or legislation that will cause harm to our environment and public health. We:
Research key topics, such as the dismantling/defunding of the EPA, including federal regulations regarding fossil fuels, toxic waste, air pollution, etc.
Network with existing federal, state, regional and local environmental groups and individuals to learn from one another and to find appropriate collaborative opportunities.
Identify and implement specific resistance actions, such as phone calls, letters to Members of Congress, and protest marches.
Communicate our findings and recommend actions to the broader community in order to build on and strengthen our impact.
Come to a meeting on the third Tuesday at 4PM. Contact us for more information and to get the meeting location.
Here’s What We’re working on
Summary: EPA at the Federal Level & Some Impacts of Proposed Budget Cuts
Why and when was the EPA formed? Born in the wake of elevated concern about environmental pollution, the EPA was established by the Nixon administration in 1970 to consolidate into one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. Nixon’s decision to enact the Clean Water and Air Acts (and the EPA to enforce them) came not because of his own caring, but because of the pressure of millions of Americans who turned out the first Earth Day in 1970.
EPA’s Mission Statement: To protect human health and the environment – air, water, and land. The EPA, State, Local and Tribal agencies work together to ensure compliance with environmental laws passed by Congress, state legislatures and tribal governments.
The bill before the House, HR 861 to abolish the EPA. Fortunately, it’s extremely unlikely that this will happen. The EPA was created to implement environmental laws through creating regulations and enforcement. The laws must be enforced; if not the EPA, who else could do this? HR 861 would have to be passed by House and Senate, which would be nearly impossible. EPA is more likely to suffer a slow death through smaller, incremental cuts – such as bills, joint resolutions, budget riders, etc.
Changing existing environmental rules is not easy or fast. To change existing rule that have been in effect longer than 60 days requires a public comment period, then probable litigation, starting with the lower courts, then slowly ascending to the Supreme Court. Could take 1-2 years, or more.
Trump’s proposed budget would cut EPA funds by 31%. Though this could change before the budget is approved, any budget cuts will reduce EPA’s ability to enforce current laws and regulations, and to generate new regulations to protect the environment, particularly under environmental regulation hater Pruitt. The impact would be felt in all states and most cities. Congressional hearings on Trump’s proposed budget will begin in May
Under proposed budget cut, the Trump/Pruitt plan is for the EPA to lay off 25% of its employees and scrap 56 programs, including pesticide safety, water runoff control, and environmental cooperation with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA. The plan does maintain funding given to states to administer waste treatment and drinking water. But as a result, the budget for the rest of EPA would actually be slashed by 43%.
On March 28, Trump signed Executive Order to dismantle Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). Obama’s CPP regulations would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet. Without the CPP, the U.S. won't be able to live up to its pledge, made in Paris in 2015, to make deep cuts in emissions (25% below 2005 emissions by 2025). That could jeopardize the Paris deal, in which nearly 200 nations made similar pledges. The Paris Agreement is intended to prevent the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which most experts say would lead to an irreversible future of rising oceans and extreme weather, leading to drought, flooding, and food and water shortages.
Trump’s order directs EPA Director Scott Pruitt to immediately review and begin steps to rescind the CPP, but the good news is that this is the first step in a process that could take years and a lot of litigation. It’s unclear if the effort will ultimately succeed. Hopefully, Trump and Pruitt will be long gone!
Local Environmental Data
-Puget Sound supports 3,200 shellfish jobs that generate $184 million in revenue each year.
-80 percent of statewide tourism and recreational dollars are tied to Puget Sound.
-Washington state’s marine industry generates $30 billion annually.
-Every EPA dollar spent on Puget Sound recovery efforts has leveraged more than $24 in matching funds from other federal agencies and local partners, including the state, tribes, and non-profits.
Examples of projects these investments have funded include:
- Kitsap County Health District’s Shellfish Restoration and Protection Project
- Pierce County Shellfish Watershed Project
- Protecting and Restoring waters important to Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
-Chico Creek Estuary Restoration Project
Source: Congressman Derek Kilmer
The majority of our derelict fishing net removal and shoreline restoration projects in northern Puget Sound have been funded through EPA, NOAA and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board. Many would not have happened without federal investment, including:
Restoration of beaches at Deception Pass
Removal of thousands of derelict fishing nets in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juans, Snohomish County waters, throughout the Sound, and on the WA Coast has been funded by NOAA and EPA through grants.
“The Northwest Straits Commission distributes over $500K/year in federal funding to the MRCs for great projects in Jefferson, Clallam, Island, Snohomish, Skagit, San Juan and Whatcom counties.”
Source: Caroline Gibson, Executive Director of the Northwest Straits Foundation
Our Suggestions for Everyone
· Call Members of Congress (MOCs), especially before and during the May congressional discussions of Trump’s proposed budget, which includes a proposed 31% cut in EPA funding, telling them to oppose draconian budget cuts to the EPA.
· Write letters to MOCs, reminding them of the “terrible legacy” they will leave for their children and grandchildren if the proposed budget cut and the dismantling of the EPA are not stopped.
· Donate to the National Resources Defense Council (The NRDC is a non-profit environmental advocacy group with approx. 500 lawyers and scientists.)
· Contact Andrew Wheeler, the EPA Administrator. Tell him the draconian budget cuts to the EPA, and other efforts to undermine the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the Paris Climate Agreement will result in a far less habitable planet for all of our children and grandchildren, including his. Demand that the Clean Power Plan be kept as it is or that it’s replaced with rules and regulations that reduce carbon emissions even more.
· Call State-level Congressional Representatives to ask: How do they propose to continue the Dept. of Ecology when federal funds are cut?