Proposed budget cut biggest in EPA’s history, panelist says

[ Posted on April 25th, 2017 by Center Communications | No Comments » ]
From left: Meng, Malloy, Jerrett, Zhu

From left: Ying-Ying Meng, Timothy Malloy, Michael Jerrett, Yifang Zhu

The Trump administration’s proposed 31 percent cut to the national EPA budget — and a 60 percent cut to California’s EPA Region 9 — would be the agency’s “biggest in history,” said panelist Michael Jerrett at the April 25 Grand Rounds lecture, “Environmentally Unhealthy? The Health and Environmental Implications of Proposed EPA Budget Cuts.”

Jerrett, chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and director of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, was a seminar panelist along with Ying-Ying Meng,  co-director of the Chronic Disease Program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and Timothy Malloy, professor at the UCLA School of Law and director of the UCLA Sustainable Technology and Policy Program.


Ying-Ying Meng

Meng talked about air pollution control as an investment in public health. She cited findings from her upcoming study, which showed that regulation of air quality near the LA-Long Beach Port corridor cut traffic-related emissions, benefiting the health of area residents.

Countering Meng’s optimism about the EPA’s regulatory power, Malloy took aim at the current administration’s intent to strip those powers from the federal agency.

“The whole goal of these cuts is to undermine what the agency does — the agency is under siege. He urged scientists to become activists and “get out there and make noise,” Malloy said.

The Q&A discussion ranged from how the EPA would prioritize its work under extreme budget constraints, whether the President’s executive order on increasing coal production would come to fruition, what would happen to environmental research work, and whether companies would self-regulate potentially harmful environmental activities.

“We can’t put much faith in corporate America” to protect the environment or EPA, Malloy said.

Yifang Zhu, moderator and professor of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, concluded the seminar by saying, “There’s still hope. The budget proposal has to go through Congress.”

The event was co-sponsored by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Watch the recorded seminar here.

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