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Alden Cleanthes: Why we need the EPA

PRESIDENT DONALD Trump s agenda, as reflected in his federal budget proposal, includes a huge cut to funding for the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA was established on Dec. 2, 1970, during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, a Republican. The public had become increasingly alarmed about pollution of the air, land and water.

In 2016, more than 15,000 world-class scientists, engineers and financial experts were responsible for the enforcement of regulations related to human health. Thanks to Nixon s leadership, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle recognize the economic value of maintaining a healthy, clean environment. The EPA s efforts to prevent pollution have saved $45 billion and created $640 billion in economic benefits. The Office of Management and Budget says that air regulations account for nearly 99 percent of those benefits. Now, however, Trump s budget would slash the EPA by 31.4 percent the largest cut faced by any Cabinet department or major agency. The EPA is part of the Department of Commerce, which funds programs and grants for coastal and marine management, research and education. Among other issues, the budget cuts Trump proposes would ignore the risks that sea-level rise poses to our infrastructure and national security.

On March 2, when Trump visited Newport News Shipbuilding, he failed to mention the military s ongoing battle with sea-level rise. The shipyard, the only U.S. facility manufacturing aircraft carriers, is just a few miles from a site where the federal government has recorded alarming data about climate change. During the administration of Barack Obama, sound policies focused on science, modeling and data collection were formed to protect Americans. In 2015, the Department of Defense concluded that climate change is happening and that we are faced with dealing with its effects. A Defense Department report stressed the need for monitoring, analysis and risk management within various commands.

We have reached a critical point in the United States, and in Hampton Roads, with regard to sea-level rise. In Norfolk, some areas experience flooding on sunny days, simply during high tides. Some schools sometimes are forced to close on days of moderate rainfall. Just this month, my family s restaurant, in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach, saw the worst flooding ever. It was partly due to wind-driven flooding, but the problem is steadily worsening because of rising sea levels. From a business perspective, it s perplexing to see a presidential administration overlook the direct fiscal benefits of considering science-based data when forming sound policies to protect the American people and the environment.

Besides the administration s agenda to weaken the regulatory authority of the EPA, Trump has signed various executive orders that dismantle other environmental legacies. One, signed March 28, directs federal agencies to reconsider Obama s Clean Power Plan, which sought to reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, when compared to 2005 levels. Courts have upheld the Clean Power Plan, but Trump s order might be its death knell. Environmental issues should not be used as partisan political points or be seen as part of anyone s political agenda we need bipartisan consensus that protecting the Earth is vitally important to the survival of humans and all other living creatures on the planet. However, Trump and EPA Director Scott Pruitt have managed to portray regulations that are geared toward protecting the environment as chief examples of oppressive federal overreach. During his campaign for president, Trump promised that he would consistently act to put America first. But his energy policy so far seems to put only industry first while placing most Americans, and the natural resources of the country, at great risk.

The United States could lead the way for the entire world in generating efficient, clean and new methods of energy production. Americans who are concerned about the direction of our country s environmental policy should fight to protect the integrity of the EPA from the Trump administration. If we do this while supporting innovation, we can create the brighter, cleaner future that our children deserve.

Alden Cleanthes is a field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force.

Right to free assembly shouldn’t compromise security of foreign …

The right to assembly should not put the security of foreign dignitaries at risk, Turkey’s ambassador to the U.S. said in an opinion piece Wednesday, in reference to the incident involving pro-PKK terrorist group protesters outside the Ambassador’s Residence building in Washington during President Recep Tayyip Erdo an’s visit. In the article published on USA Today, Ambassador Serdar K l noted that the incident, which took place on May 16, could have been prevented through more effective management by U.S. authorities and that the footage published on social media did not correctly show what actually happened.

“The initial accounting revealed that rival groups of demonstrators had clashed in front of the residence on Sheridan Circle. Yet the video footage later released on social networks did not show this clash” K l said, adding that the story told by some media outlets was based on the manipulative video. The ambassador noted that the group of Turkish Americans and PKK protesters clashed after the latter started throwing objects at the former.

“These incidents would never have happened if the demonstrators, following their initial violent behavior and provocation, were taken to the other side of Sheridan Circle also a public space where First Amendment rights could be exercised ensuring enough security distance between the two demonstrating groups and the president’s security” K l said.

The ambassador highlighted that the right to freely assemble should not compromise the safety of foreign dignitaries, especially if they are from countries like Turkey, which are threatened by terrorism.

Turkey protested the handling of the incident and delivered a written and verbal protest to U.S. Ambassador John Bass due to the “aggressive and unprofessional” actions of U.S. security personnel toward the close protection team of Foreign Minister Mevl t avu o lu, breaching diplomatic rules and practices.

Turkey summons US ambassador over Washington brawl

CLOSETurkey Summons US Ambassador Over Washington Brawl Turkey Summons US Ambassador Over Washington Brawl

The Turkish government and Washington local officials traded blame Wednesday for violence outside Turkey’s embassy, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security staff broke up an anti-government protest. (May 17) AP

Turkey Summons US Ambassador Over Washington Brawl

Police secure the street outside the Turkish Embassy during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 16, 2017, in Washington.(Photo: Dave Clark, AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey summoned John Bass, the U.S ambassador to Ankara, to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, in protest at the treatment of Turkish security personnel following a brawl in Washington last week. The bodyguards of Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were involved in a clash with protesters outside the Turkish ambassador s residence, the Turkish government said. It happened hours after President Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday. Eleven people, including a police officer, were injured and two people, at least one of whom was a protester, were arrested for assault, police in Washington said.

The State Department said two Turkish security personnel were briefly detained before being released. In a statement Monday, Turkey s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the ambassador was summoned and a written and verbal protest was delivered due to the aggressive and unprofessional actions taken, contrary to diplomatic rules and practices, by U.S. security personnel toward the close protection team of H.E Mevl t avu o lu.

READ MORE:

Protest outside Turkish Embassy in D.C. turns violent

It has been formally requested that the U.S. authorities conduct a full investigation of this diplomatic incident and provide the necessary explanation, the statement said.

During the meeting with the Ambassador, it was emphasized that the lapses of security experienced during our President’s stay in Washington, which were caused by the inability of U.S. authorities to take sufficient precautions at every stage of the official program, will not overshadow what in every other aspect was a very successful and important visit, it added. Police in Washington called the incident a brutal attack on peaceful protesters. Turkey blamed the violence on protesters with ties to the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Reuters reported.

We are communicating our concern to the Turkish government in the strongest possible terms, said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert last week.

Sen. John McCain tweeted following the incident: Turkish security guards’ attack on peaceful protesters this wk was a despicable display of thuggery & repression – absolutely unacceptable. He also called for[1] the removal of Turkey’s ambassador to the U.S.

Serdar K l , Turkey s ambassador to Washington, was summoned to the State Department on Wednesday following the incident, CNN and NBC reported.

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References

  1. ^ called for (www.reuters.com)
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