Terry Yosie, the former head of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, begins this article with a warning: years of bipartisan neglect, anti-science and anti-regulation decisions have weakened public institutions leaving many lives susceptible to pollution and disease. After a historic reduction of the EPA’s resources in the Trump era, five investments must be made in the EPA to protect both the environment and public health. First, The EPA must be repopulated with talented staff to assess threats, perform cost-benefit analysis on regulatory actions, and achieve compliance with regulated entities. Second, public health must be directly linked to the detrimental and compounding effects of global climate change and domestic pollution at home. Third, cutting edge technology must be proactively implemented to track pollutants throughout America to prevent another health crisis such as the one in Flint, Michigan. Fourth, environmental action must meet the digital age by incorporating big data or analytical software. Finally, social justice must be integral to environmental protection, as communities of color and lower income neighborhoods still receive disproportionately lower governmental aid yet experience disproportionately greater exposure to industrial pollutants.
Terry Yosie, “Rebuilding the EPA.” The Hill, September 14, 2020.