United States Rep. Scott Perry, like many of his fellow lawmakers around the country, faced a disgruntled crowd during a town hall meeting March 18 in Red Lion Junior High School.
To make matters worse for himself, Perry made a hasty comment that likened natural processes to human-driven contributions of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. But there’s difference between the two, mainly that natural processes are out of our control, but human-driven impact is not.
“Some violators — if you are spiritual and believe God — one of the violators was God because the forests were providing a certain amount of nitrates and phosphates to the Chesapeake Bay,” Perry said, according to Penn Live.
His comment was met with ire from the crowd, many of whom held signs labeled “disagree.”
The question that prompted Perry’s response was in regard to proposed budget cuts for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and how that might affect Perry’s ability to protect water reserves in Pennsylvania, according to Penn Live. The EPA has been the subject of criticism from its own leader, Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, who sued the agency 13 times as the governor of Oklahoma, according to the Huffington Post.
Recently, Pruitt expressed his skepticism that human activity is the driving force behind climate change, and then asked that Congress give its two cents on whether carbon dioxide is a pollutant that should be regulated, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
On this issue, we choose to side with the overwhelming number of climate scientists who say that human activity is causing climate change. Numerous surveys of peer-reviewed scientific literature have put climate scientists’ consensus on this matter somewhere between 90 and 100 percent, according to Skeptical Science.
While Pruitt has a leg to stand on — seeing as Congress has never given the EPA explicit authority to regulate carbon dioxide — it is disheartening to know the man charged with protecting our environment could be ignorant to scientific evidence. It is the same evidence that is asserted, and peer reviewed, by thousands of people who dedicate their lives to this line of study.
In regard to budget cuts to the EPA, we understand that these propositions are in line with President Donald Trump’s desire to limit centralized power and allow states to decide how to deal with environmental issues. What does concern us is the drastic nature of these cuts. The slash of $2.6 billion would put the EPA’s budget back where it was in the early ’90s, while the reduction of 3,200 staffers would shrink the agency’s workforce to what it was under President Ronald Reagan, according to the Washington Times.
We also worry about the lack of a centralized body in dealing with an issue like climate change. If the effects of climate change were isolated to the geographic regions that contribute to it most, it would be one thing. But they are not; they affect everyone globally. For the sake of a more local focus, take the Chesapeake Bay for example. Its watershed spans six states. What happens if one state’s policy conflicts with another’s on how to regulate pollutants? The result is, nothing gets done.
We feel that access to clean air and water is a birthright, and worry how these budget cuts might curtail a unified effort to ensure this right.
We also believe climate change is real, and is being caused by human activities. We will not support any notion that suggests otherwise until an ample amount of scientific data is presented similar to the mounds of data upon which climate scientists base their conclusions.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and are not representative of The Slate or its staff as a whole.