By Fran Maye, Daily Local News [online only in e-paper], 9/30/17
“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
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.
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.
“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….
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