Congressman Matt Gaetz took to Facebook to explain his bill that would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. We missed his scheduled radio interview on “Pensacola Speaks” yesterday, but he did produce a video for his Facebook page.
Here is the transcript:
“Just got back into Washington, DC and excited for another productive week of work with President Trump and the Republican Congress. I thought it’d be important to take a moment to chat a little bit about my proposal last week to abolish the environmental protection agency, and I want to start by saying there are a lot of shared values that we have here, even for those who don’t agree with my proposal.
“I am a conservationist at heart. I think that as a conservative every once in a while you should want to conserve something.
“It’s one of the reasons why as a state legislator, I voted to secure more than a billion dollars in funding for our Everglades, to be able to restore water flow and habitats and environment for some of Earth’s most special creatures and one of the great areas of biodiversity that we have.
“For six years in the (state) legislature, I had a front row seat to the failures of the federal government in protecting the environment. The question isn’t whether to protect the environment. The question is who is better equipped to actually do that.
“I got a lot of questions from folks on social media and email asking whether or not the abolition of the EPA would mean that we wouldn’t have clean water or clean air. That’s simply not true.
“The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, they would stay in effect after my bill, but enforcement of those laws would fall to state and local governments.
“Now one might reasonably ask well why would we do that? Why wouldn’t we want the federal government doing those things, and there are a few reasons.
“First, right now already you’ve got circumstances where major portions of that legislation is being enforced at the local level. I’ll post a link to a Northwest Florida Daily News article under this Facebook Live session when we’re done with it, where even local officials in northwest Florida are saying, yeah, we don’t really need the EPA because we manage and enforce a lot of those things locally. I think that’s critically important to remember.
“Another thing is that local communities tend to be able to react a lot quicker. I’ll give you an example. The Superfund program. The federal Superfund program has largely been underfunded and unfunded and that’s left sites being designated but not cleaned up after there’s been environmental catastrophes for quite some time, whereas at the state level, we have a brown fields program.
“What’s significant about that is that we’re able to get projects funded and then they ultimately turn into great community assets, public parks, schools, mixed use areas that improve vibrancy in neighborhoods. It’s an example of state programs succeeding where the federal government has in fact not been able to be so successful.
“The EPA has $8 billion in their budget, so imagine all the good we could do if we could downstream those resources to communities that actually really would put their environmental priorities first and foremost and ensure that they are being reflected in a community’s own set of circumstances. I think that would be ever the more helpful.
“We’ve also seen a problem with the EPA that my legislation would help to solve. Notably you’ve got the EPA giving away money all over the world. $27 million the EPA has given to other countries. Now I think we ought to prioritize the environmental assets in the United States of America and not be funding those initiatives elsewhere when we’ve got a $19 trillion debt and we’re not doing nearly enough to protect and preserve all of our assets that we potentially could here at home.
“We’ve also seen circumstances where the EPA has had substantial mission creep and overreach. I give an example of one my constituents who simply went to widen his stock pond for his cattle on a cattle farm and just by virtue of increasing the size of his pond all of a sudden had EPA regulators all over him, all over his property.
“This truly conforms to the limited government principle that the government that’s closest to people will do the best job for them. I hope that answers some of the questions.
“I will say I’m very glad to have so many new folks contributing and commenting on our page. Many of you have joined us from as far away as New York or California and I think that’s great.
“My fellow Northwest Floridians and I, we’re conservative folks. We believe in the constitution and even if you don’t agree with us on everything, I certainly welcome any feedback or input you have.
“Thanks so much and I look forward to getting further updates about our plan to abolish the EPA for a more tailored and appropriate environmental protection strategy.”