Last week, the founder of the Environmental Justice Program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mustafa Ali, resigned amid pending cuts to the office. Ali resigned because he believes his values are different than those of the current administration.
Ali shared his resignation letter on Twitter, urging the new EPA director Scott Pruitt to listen to and assist communities of color, low income and indigenous populations in solving the environmental problems that impact their communities.
The founder of EPA's environmental justice office quit yesterday after 24 years at the agency. Here's his resignation letter. pic.twitter.com/KafcOwcc7Q
— Emily Atkin (@emorwee) March 9, 2017
The EPA is facing a $2 billion in cuts from the Trump Administration, leaving the Environmental Justice program with nearly a sixth of its budget. The 78% cuts to the EPA, according to the Huffington Post, result in a funding drop from $6.7 million to $1.5 million.
What does this mean for the communities that the Environmental Justice program serves? First, it demonstrates a lack of concern for environmental racism, or business and policies that allow for dangerous environmental effects that disproportionately impact communities of color. Specifically, this underscores the lead poisoning in the water in Flint or the potential lack of pollution prevention by businesses in low income areas.
We all know that climate change and pollution hurts everyone, but vulnerable populations are often the most hurt by poor environmental regulation. This office was built to empower and protect vulnerable populations from corporate greed and environmental destruction.
These drastic cuts demonstrate a lack of care for these populations on the part of the Trump administration. Besides the fact that the Pruitt does not believe that climate change is “settled” science and wishes to more or less dismantle the EPA, the effects these cuts will have on communities of color is discriminatory at best and racist at worst.
Photo Credits: Flickr