Tuesday, September 1, 2015

EPA needs to be reinvented and independent

I met Evaggelos Vallianatos at a conference called "Seizing an Alternative: Towards an Ecological Civilization" and was deeply impressed by his passion for truth and people and his deep and extensive knowledge of environmental matters. Having worked for the EPA for 25, he knows whereof he speaks. I highly recommend his books Poison Spring and This Land is Their Land. He exposes the corruption of the EPA and the devastating effects of corporate agribusiness on the environment and people's lives. He is truly a prophet as well as a brilliant analyst. And it also happens to be Greek and knows the inside story of that amazing and tragic country. His recent article calls for a reconstituted and independent EPA. It's definitely worth reading.

Evaggelos Vallianatos earned a BA in zoology from the University of Illinois and a doctorate in history from the University of Wisconsin. He also did postdoctoral studies in the history of science at Harvard. He worked for 2 years on Capitol Hill and 25 years for the U.S. EPA.

He is the author of 6 books and hundreds of articles. His book on the workings and failure of EPA, "Poison Spring," was published in April 2014 by Bloomsbury Press.

The EPA, US and Me

By Evaggelos Vallianatos
I worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the last two years of the Jimmy Carter administration to the end of the first administration of George W. Bush. This was a long time, twenty-five years. 
I went to the EPA full of enthusiasm to make some difference to such a virtuous national enterprise: protecting the health of both humans and the natural world from countless invisible dangers.
After all, industrialized America was the Goliath of industrialized countries: blowing apart mountains for coal, fighting endless wars for petroleum, and allowing its agribusiness and chemical industries to alter the face of rural America by forcibly planting large-scale agriculture in the land of millions of family farmers.
This invisible upheaval and its deadly pollution became real to me in 1979 when I started my career at the EPA.
The EPA inside out
First of all, my colleagues told me the story of criminal laboratories faking data so that pesticide companies would have no trouble in getting EPA permission to bring their new creations to farmers. The EPA shut down several of those criminal labs but did nothing else to end that deadly practice.
Second, the EPA allowed products registered on the basis of fraud to remain on the market, and, therefore, in our food and drinking water.
Not only that, but the EPA reinvented itself and began seeing the world through the eyes of polluters. The choice was stark: change or die. The Reagan administration would not have the EPA keep “discovering” ever more criminal labs, as these discoveries always raised the question of what to do with the chemical industry, the greatest beneficiary of this criminal corruption. 
In the 1980s, the EPA quietly outsourced its own responsibility of examining the data of the chemical companies.
Digging deeper
I, too, “discovered” lots of other things that brought me to dig further beneath the placid and boring face of the EPA: for example, spraying neurotoxins over crops ready to be harvested, which was not kind to farm workers. The EPA’s own studies in the late 1970s uncovered young farm workers that had the medical maladies associated with men some twenty-five years of age older.
To read the rest of this article go to http://www.pandopopulus.com/the-epa-and-me/

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