…As well as what for the rest of us (and the planet). Hint: Time to invest in a gas mask.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

The Environmental Protection Agency — you remember, the agency founded 47 years ago by Richard M. Nixon with bipartisan support. The agency long credited as having an undeniable impact on solving local, regional and national pollution problems. The agency that spurned us toward economic growth in renewable resources as we cleared our air and waterways — is being further dismantled by the current administration.

Friday, five members of the agency’s scientific review board were fired, part of the Trump regime’s end goal to dismantle the agency by first crippling it to the point of irrelevancy.

To date, no president has never ever fired anyone off the 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors or even as much as suggested that the nerds who help the government craft rules to protect clean air and water be suits instead of white lab coats.

The dismissals Friday came in the wake of the House passing a bill that is trying to switch up a neighboring E.P.A. scientific review board to include more representation from corporations.

J.P. Freire, a spokesman for E.P.A.chief Scott Pruitt. who posts instas like this:

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The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun…

A post shared by J.P. Freire (@jp_freire) on

…confirmed that scientists will likely be replaced by representatives from companies whose industries cause the very pollutants the agency regulates.

“The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” he said.

Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the move is “completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda.”

The Trump administration has already censured E.P.A. staff, removed scientific data on climate change from its websites and Pruitt himself constantly questions the scientific community consensus that humans are (duh!) the ones behind global warming.

But, you argue, the E.P.A. is a giant, bloated government agency. What have they done for us? So we put together a highlight reel of what the E.P.A. has accomplished over the last four decades — because of the work of scientists, not corporate lackeys:

  • Established amendments to the Clean Air Act to protect public health by setting national health-based standards for air pollutants, setting standards for auto emissions, and requiring states to submit new air quality plans.
  • Protected children’s health through lead-based paint prevention activities, including detection and treatment of lead-based paint poisoning, limiting lead use in certain consumer items, and banning the use of lead-based interior paints in residences built or renovated by the federal government.
  • Banned use of DDT.
  • Committed to build an advanced network of sewers. By 1988, all U.S. cities had built or committed to build such facilities, resulting in rivers and lakes that are safe for swimming, tourism and commercial and recreational fishing.
  • Ushered in the International Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement to begin cleanup of the Great Lakes, which contain 95 percent of the nation’s fresh water and supply drinking water for 23 million Americans.
  • Phased out all use of lead gasoline.
  • Limited factory discharges of pollution into waterways.
  • Set health-based standards for governing the quality of public water supply including setting requirements for physical and chemical treatment of drinking water.
  • Set national standards for limiting industrial water pollution preventing one billion pounds of toxics from reaching our rivers, lakes, and streams each year.
  • Took responsibility for new fuel economy standards and forced car makers to install catalytic converters to meet emission standards.
  • Helped phase out production and use of cancer-causing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), a widely-used material often discharged into the environment.
  • Banned the use of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) as a propellant in most aerosol cans.
  • Developed a nationwide program of toxic waste site cleanups.
  • Directed manufacturers, users and storers of chemicals to keep records about the location, quantity, use, and any release of those materials.
  • Called for greater use of science in decision-making on environmental regulation.
  • Established that Federal agencies must use recycled and recyclable products.
  • Banned the dumping of sewage sludge into oceans.
  • Started a major initiative to encourage manufacturers to develop new, safer pesticides.
  • Found that second-hand cigarette smoke can cause cancer and impair the respiratory health of children and others exposed.
  • Reported that curbside recycling programs and related efforts have tripled the recycling rate for the nation’s trash.
  • Announced new set of pollution controls that reduced toxic air pollutants by 90% from chemical plants by 1997.
  • Initiated superfund cleanups resulting in as many cleanups completed in 12 months during the mid-1990s as were completed in the program’s first decade.
  • New grants launched by EPA to help 50 U.S. communities revitalize inner-city brownfields—abandoned, contaminated sites that were formerly industrial or commercial properties—most are now thriving infill neighborhoods.
  • Two-thirds of the U.S. metropolitan areas with unhealthy air in 1990 were meeting or exceeding air quality standards by the late-1990s, making it easier for more than 50 million Americans to breathe in LA, SF, Detroit and NY.

So kiss all that shit goodbye.

Two of the scientists dismissed received emails from an agency official saying their three-year terms had expired and would not be renewed. That was contrary, the scientists said, to what they had been told by officials in January shortly after the inauguration.

“I believe this is political,” Courtney Flint, a professor of natural resource sociology at Utah State University, told the New York Times. “It’s unexpected. It’s a red flag.”

Or this tweet from Robert Richardson, an environmental economist at Michigan State University:

…He’s not the only one.

Andrew J. Pridgen helps run sister site Death of the Press Box and is the author of the novella “Burgundy Upholstery Sky”. His first full-length novel will be released in late-2017.