Clean Water Doesn’t Happen By Chance: Save The EPA
For the last 29 years, Nestlé Waters has been sucking millions of gallons of water out of the San Bernardino National Forest with an expired U.S. Forest Service permit. The company spends less than $600 every year for the pleasure to bottle this water and sell it under the Arrowhead brand for an impressive profit. It’s no wonder that when Tim Brown, North America’s CEO, was asked if the company would ever consider moving its bottling operations out of California he responded, “Absolutely not. In fact, if I could increase it, I would.”
Our Community didn’t take kindly to the news of Nestlé’s expired permit or its perspective on bottling water taken from the public’s land. In fact, The Story of Stuff Project and our partners sued the Forest Service for allowing Nestlé’s permit to sit unreviewed for nearly 30 years while the company continued to go about its business. The judge didn’t rule in our favor (don’t worry, we’re appealing), but the Forest Service is finally conducting an environmental review based on protocols outlined in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Hooray!
But here’s the thing: NEPA, which was signed into law in 1970 and requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions, is housed under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Maybe you’ve heard in the news lately that the Trump administration recently promised to decimate the EPA by slashing its budget by half ($4 billion), laying off its workers, and putting Scott Pruitt in charge. There’s even been a proposal from a Republican Congressman to abolish the EPA completely.
Even if that doesn’t happen, Pruitt, Oklahoma Attorney General, presents enough of a problem. He unabashedly rejects the very mission of the EPA as well as scientific proof of climate change. Rather, he supports the oil and gas industry and has taken part in 14 lawsuits against EPA regulations, yet the Senate will vote him into office this week.
Gutting the EPA will not only impact our work to protect public water in the San Bernardino National Forest. It will also destroy decades of progress we’ve made around the country to protect public drinking water, clean up the air, and reduce our exposure to thousands of toxic chemicals.
According to a recent Reuters poll, more than 60 percent of Americans would like to see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s powers preserved or strengthened rather than destroyed. Clean air and clean water are a big part of what makes America great!