Gaetz explains EPA stance: ‘I am a conservationist at heart’

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.”


15 thoughts on “Gaetz explains EPA stance: ‘I am a conservationist at heart’

  1. P.O. Box 6683
    Tallahassee, Florida 32314-6683
    February 11, 2017

    Congressman Matt Gaetz
    4300 Bayou Blvd., Suite 13
    Pensacola, Florida 32503

    Dear Congressman Gaetz,

    It has been reported that you are currently drafting legislation that would do away with the Environmental Protection Agency.

    EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment.

    Your rationalization for this action is cost to small businesses.

    What you are failing to consider is the cost that polluted air and water have on human health, which is why regulatory laws were passed and the agency was created in the first place. For example, in your own district, the recent incident at the International Paper Cantonment mill where unknown chemicals were emitted into the air is why necessary and perhaps even more regulation is needed.

    On behalf of all Floridians we urge you to withdraw this egregious bill which would serve no useful purpose to anyone other than polluters and has the potential to undo decades of life-saving clean air and clean water controls.


    Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida
    By John Hedrick, President

  2. Everything that everyone else has posted is spot on. I will add this. If you continue to support this and the dismantling if the education department your career in politics is done.

  3. I remember how responsive local gov’t was written Saufley landfill. Mr. Gaetz, you are an embarrasment.

  4. I can’t believe you feel this is the most pressing issue facing our country! If you do you are already out of touch with the people back home! Get busy working for the people and not the special interest that you must be working for.

  5. I can add the perspective of an EPA charter employee. I went to work for USEPA in 1970, four days before it became official. Worked there 35 years. My job was in environmental law enforcement until President Reagan took office and abolished the Enforcement Division (Just a bunch of lawyers causing trouble to justify their existence, he said.). In the beginning, we did virtually all environmental law enforcement because, with the exception of Michigan and maybe a couple of other states enforced the few weak laws they had….very tight political control and very limited funding. EPA paid for most of their staffing to get them functional, while forcing them to do the jobs the new regime suggests the states do. EPA still spends much of it’s funds on grants to the states to operate their programs. State programs are still under the thumb of state politics and without EPA oversight would (and do) yield to local and industrial influence. Wisconsin, for example, had one of the finest programs in the nation (until the right wing Walker administration began to gut their program, even cancelling ongoing cases with chronic offenders). I know, with no doubt, that without USEPA the environment will go back on sale to the highest bidder. It still happens from time to time when a handcuffed EPA doesn’t act. Remember Flint?

  6. I recognize that the EPA is a huge bureaucratic nightmare and their spending habits of taxpayer money makes C. Jones $6000.00 office furniture look like cheap imitation match sticks in comparison but that doesn’t mean I think we need to do away with the EPA.

    I think this move to abolish it was hasty and poorly thought out!

    What could and should happen is:

    1.) Do away with incompetent or fraudulent employees (We have that same problem locally)

    2.) Improve antiquated records retention practices

    3.) Stop giving away International grants to foreign countries when they should be protecting the domestic environment first.

    4.) Stop the burdensome cost prohibitive regulations that ultimately impact taxpayers.

    I think leaving the states to their own devices is foolhardy given what a dismal failure Rick Scott has been. For more on his failures see; published in 2014.

  7. Can we count on local and state gov’t to put people over profit? Can we count on them to respect the science that goes into the kind of decisions that the EPA makes? Did anyone find out why the EPA was concerned about the pond and the cattle? My guess is that there was a sound, scientific explanation behind that. Can we expect that our politicians are not beholden to the corporations (fossil fuel industry) that funded their elections? Taking care of the environment is the foundation for everything. I would like my children, grandchildren and future generations to have clean water as an example. We need a strong, science based protection for our environment.

  8. You calling yourself a conservationist is like how Betsy DeVos claims she supports public education.

  9. You are no conservationist if you want to get rid of the EPA. You are no education advocate if you want to get rid of the Education department.
    You are merely a con artist, trying to sell the citizens of the US the snake oil that the Federal Government can do no good.
    OF COURSE the government can do no good when people vote for people who think that it can do no good.
    Please, don’t try to con us. Many of us know that you are in the mold of the Liar-In-Chief, Donny Tinyhands.
    You are both con artists, and should not even be in office!

  10. Landfills, landfills, landfills… local “government” organizations did NOTHING to protect our environment.

  11. I guess Gaetz doesn’t get it that the environment is not divided into states (or even countries). So, say, if some entity in Georgia pollutes the aquifer that folks in Florida are drinking from, what authority does Florida have to stop, or even inspect the polluter?

  12. I am going to provide an example of a problem with what you just said.
    “We will downstream those funds”. If you do away with the EPA you also do away with their budget. The state level will have to provide money from their own budgets to resolve issues. Where is that money going to come from? It will surelly not come from the federal level as they will no longer have a stake in funding state environmental issues.
    Doing away wth the EPA will actually add more red tape as each state will. Le have to go after a company to get money. For a case like bp that would make it so 5 different states would all have to sue onto get money for cleanup. How is that a better thing for the country?
    How about instead of each state being its own little kingdom why don’t we restructure the EPA to assist in issues that pertain to multiple states? Then designate each state to do its own management. But we will still have he voice of the EPA in the govt to speak for the greater good.

  13. Matt Gaetz misleads the public and he doesn’t have a clue what EPA does, especially when it comes to protecting the health of the unborn and children. He is clueless. He is just a politicians. Plain and simple.

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