Activists with the Environmental Defense Fund are wasting no time using damage from Hurricane Harvey to urge politicians to protect the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EDF, a major environmental group based in Washington, D.C., launched a TV ad Tuesday using destruction from Harvey to warn lawmakers that they will be “held responsible” if they cut funding to the EPA. The ad buy cost $50,000 and is running for two weeks in the Washington, D.C. area.
One of the group’s 30-second ads tells Congress to prepare “for more asthma attacks, more lead in drinking water, more health problems, and more pollution,” if the EPA’s funds are slashed. Another ad cuts to images of the fires at the Arkema chemical plant near Houston.
EPA officials opened an investigation earlier this month into whether chemical maker Arkema followed safety rules at a Texas plant where chemical containers exploded and burned for days after flooding from Harvey. Arkema officials warned nearby residents to take precautions against the smoke billowing from the factory as it may be toxic.
The agency was put under the microscope for similar problems during the Obama administration as well. Some activists criticized former President Barack Obama’s handling of the Flint water crisis.
Michigan officials switched the small Eastern Michigan city’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in a bid to save money. But the state applied the wrong regulations and standards for drinking water, which ultimately resulted in corroded pipes.
Nearly 2,000 citizens in Flint, Michigan sued the EPA for its failure to handle last year’s water crisis.
The lawsuit claimed that the agency failed to take the proper steps to ensure state and local authorities were addressing the crisis. The defendants sought a civil action lawsuit for $722 million in damages.
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