The feverish pace in which President Donald Trump is issuing executive orders, and perceived to be dialing back federal obligations back to state control, has state agencies acting just as quickly.
Trump has been in office for less than a month and already has signed away orders that align with campaign promises. However, the rate in which he has gone to his pen is no quicker or more frequent than past presidents. Nor has it been uncommon for an incoming president to place temporary gag orders on federal agencies, as he did with the Environmental Protection Agency last month. But, coupling that act along with his orders to proceed with the hotly contested Dakota Pipeline process, has environmentalists worried about what’s to follow.
What’s known is the president has an agenda that is to significantly affect the EPA, either through a drastic reduction in the agency’s budget or eliminating it altogether, as some have speculated. The intended purpose of it all is to reduce regulations placed on American industries, and increase business within the country’s own boundaries.
New York state has pushed for liberal initiatives to help preserve the integrity of the environment in the Empire State. This week we report on the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program, a multi-million dollar grant program aimed to assist state farmers protect our local watershed.
The Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program is not new. But, its recent announcement falls on the footsteps of advocates who are now pushing for legislators to pass a state constitutional amendment that ensures clean air and water.
We’re more than 40 years removed from the passing of the Clean Water Act on the federal level, yet we continue to read of communities battling with man made pollutants. Hoosick Falls, Newburgh and our own local water lines have been scrutinized over the past year. Our ability, as citizens, to hold our legislators accountable for maintaining municipal services and keeping local industries in check is aided by the Rachel Carsons of the world.
Carson’s “Silent Spring” was the catalyst behind the movement that created the EPA. Her harsh criticism on the use of pesticides, to which she called “biocides,” concluded that synthetic chemicals rarely killed just their intended target. She also took legislators to task for blindly accepting pesticide manufacturers who falsely claimed the chemicals were safe, while people wrote letters reporting the deaths of wild birds scattered across their lawns. Should speculation prove to be true, that the president intends to strip down environmental regulations in an effort to promote American businesses, each state is obligated to pick up the flag. In the end, it’s everyone’s responsibility to be stewards of our land and drinking water, and keeping those in power in check.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.
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