The current Republican front-runner for president, Donald Trump, has made it clear that the Environmental Protection Agency is in line for serious cuts if he makes it to the White House. Trump noted this at several debates, reiterating the substance of what he told Chris Wallace in an interview for Fox News Sunday in late 2015. Talking about the EPA, he said, "What they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations. They're making it impossible." Trump went on to maintain, "We'll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit [of regulations], but you can't destroy businesses."
When the electorate hears the sound bite, and Trump pitting EPA restrictions against business and jobs, it may resonate on the surface"but a deeper look shows that when neighborhoods are impacted by serious pollution threats, they quickly change their minds.
Porter Ranch, California experienced an "aha" moment around the dangers of fracking, methane leaks, and methane storage. Oregon is now coming to grips with what is shaping up to be a crisis of their own.
Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, reached out to Gina McCarthy and the EPA via a letter dated February 12, which qualified toxic "hot spots" of air pollution in Portland emanating from facilities producing stained glass. As per the letter, due to a "regulatory loophole," these emissions slipped by the existing standards.
As ongoing stories filed by Rob Davis, the environmental reporter for The Oregonian/Oregon Live relates, the toxins in question didn't exactly slip by. Rather, the stained glass industry lobbied for an exemption.
Now that two specific factories have been targeted as emitting heavy metal toxins including lead, cadmium, and arsenic, the solidly populated vicinities adjacently located are quite concerned. Additionally, there are several schools in the area. Residents, worried about potential cancer risks, are looking into having their urine and blood tested.
On February 22, the Senators and Congressman sent a letter to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Director for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. They asked for "immediate assistance in responding to the public health risks identified by the discovery of hotspots of dangerously high levels of an airborne heavy metals in Portland, Oregon."
I reached out to Sen. Merkley for a comment. He responded by e-mail: