Leaders call on Costello to explain his vote to cut EPA’s budget
WEST CHESTER » In a rally at the old courthouse Friday afternoon, community leaders called on U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello (R6th Dist.) to answer for his vote to cut $800 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Interior’s budgets.
“As a former county commissioner, I am sure Congressman Costello knows Chester County has a strong record supporting environmental protection,” said Diane LeBold, West Chester council president. “But with his vote to cut the EPA budget, it is clear Congressman Costello has fallen in line with those who are answering to a different constituency - the powerful corporations who are jumping at the chance to take apart the EPA and block enforcement of existing regulations. This is very disturbing. I am here to tell Mr. Costello and his colleagues in Congress that they are fighting a losing battle.”
State Rep. Carolyn Comitta told the crowd they can take action by writing to their local lawmakers, and to join her in the fight to protect the environment.
“Our DEP has seen funding and staff cuts over the last several years that seriously hinders their ability to do their job,” Comitta said. “The potential harm to our streams, groundwater and air from lack of consistent enforcement pose serious public health hazards.”
Dianne Herrin, chair of the West Chester’s sustainability advisory committee, said climate change is real, evidenced by recent natural disasters.
“We are facing complete federal inaction on climate change,” she said. “The reality is at the federal level we are going backwards and yet we are in a time of environmental crisis. Think about what has happened in the past few months. The West Coast has virtually been on fire, Houston is under water, Florida is devastated and Puerto Rico is fundamental destroyed. Fires happen but it doesn’t happen at this level without climate change. climate change is upon us, it will get worse, and that is a fact.”
Herrin said future generations will pay the price for inaction by lawmakers today.
“We are being regulated by polluters,” she said. “In so many ways our hands are tied because laws have been written by polluters and lobbyists. We are here today to ask (Costello) to
“Without the EPA’s protection, communities would be unable to argue that our constitutional rights to a clean environment should be protected. We need to set the example and demand that our legislators stand up for the environmental rights that our laws allow.” — Carol Armstrong, The Way Forward
act responsibly on climate change. Climate change
doesn’t just affect one person or two people. If affects all of us, all of our children, and our grandchildren.”
Carol Armstrong from The Way Forward which sponsored the event, said lawmakers must vote in ways that protect the environment.
“The EPA has been the reason that our communities have the ‘teeth’ we need to protect our air, water, and open lands,” she said. “Without the EPA’s protection, communities would be unable to argue that our constitutional rights to a clean environment should be protected. We need to set the example and demand
that our legislators stand up for the environmental rights that our laws allow.”
Speakers highlighted how communities like West Chester and Phoenixville are transitioning to clean energy, despite President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. In fact, West Chester and Phoenixville committed to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Pennsylvanians stand to reap large economic benefits from climate action and clean energy.
Costello did not respond to repeated calls for comment, both at his local office and at his office in Washington, D.C.
State Rep. Carolyn Comitta speaks to a crowd in West Chester on Friday, calling on U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello to answer for his vote to cut $800 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Interior’s budgets.