SEEK­ING ANSWERS

Lead­ers call on Costello to ex­plain his vote to cut EPA’s bud­get

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Fran Maye fmaye@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @ken­nettpa­per on Twit­ter

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.

FRAN MAYE - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

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.

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