Nobody likes drinking filthy water or breathing dirty air, especially when we can do something about it. That’s why EPA employees joined hundreds of thousands of people in the People’s Climate Marches held across the country to protest the new administration’s pro-polluter policies and proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would jeopardize clean air and water for everyone in the country.
EPA employees joined the rallies in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Denver as part of the 370 events held April 29. The 90-degree heat in D.C. and pouring rain in Chicago did nothing to stop the protesters, who showed up with inspiring homemade signs like “Climate change is not fake science,” “There is no Planet B,” and “Climate Matters.”
AFGE members brought family and friends to help inform the public about the life-saving work they do, and the importance it holds for future generations of Americans. EPA employees, for example, are tasked with implementing the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, which are projected to prevent 120,000 ER visits, 13 million lost work days, and more than 230,000 early deaths in America by 2020.
“This administration claims that it can reduce the US EPA’s budget by over 31 percent, cut staffing by 3,000 to 4,000 people, and totally eliminate 56 programs – including all climate change programs – and still ensure clean air and water. BALONEY! This administration claims it can close two of U.S. EPA’s regional offices, including this one in Chicago and still protect human health and the environment. BALONEY!” AFGE EPA Council President John O’Grady told thousands of protesters gathered in downtown Chicago. The council represents more than 9,000 employees nationwide.
According to the American Lung Association’s 2017 State of the Air report, more than 125 million Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, placing them at risk for asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage, developmental and reproductive harm, premature death, and the ever-present cancer threat. The EPA is a major player in preventing air pollution, and the administration’s proposed cut to the agency’s 2018 budget will put our health in danger.
“The Environmental Protection Agency is our best – and often only – way of fighting polluters and protecting community health in America,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “We are proud to have been a part of the People’s Climate March, and to raise awareness about the important work the EPA does.”
“The endeavors undertaken by the dedicated men and women of the EPA has saved countless lives, has served as an economic stimulus, and is integral in fighting future climate change that will hurt our people and our planet,” he added.