The head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office on Environmental Justice just resigned in protest of Trump’s anti-environment agenda.
Mustafa Ali has worked with the EPA for 24 years, and was a founder of the Office on Environmental Justice, which focuses on assisting minority, low-income, and indigenous communities being crippled by environmental problems. The office has allotted $24 million in grant money to 1,400 communities.
“I have priorities in supporting vulnerable communities,” Ali told CNN. “I thought first I’d be patient and see what the administration would focus on, but I have not seen or heard any indication the administration plans to work with vulnerable communities as it relates to environmental protection.”
Sources have revealed to CNN that the EPA’s budget could be slashed by as much as 24%, with 20% of employees being potentially laid off. Many of the EPA’s most successful programs tasked with improving water and air quality are now on the chopping block under Trump’s EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who made headlines today when he contradicted the vast majority of the scientific community by claiming that human activity is not contributing to global warming.
In his resignation letter, Ali tried to appeal to Pruitt’s interest in the economy, citing a case in which his office gave a $20,00 grant to the mostly low-income, African-American town of Spartanburg, South Carolina. The community were able to use the grant to bring in $270 million from investors and the government, “creating jobs and improving their environments through collaborative partnerships,” Ali wrote.
“Under his leadership, he has the ability to move to the next level if he chooses to,” Ali told Mother Jones. Environmental justice leaders “have dedicated decades to trying to gain traction and make progress. We’ve done some of that, and to move backwards didn’t make any sense to me.”
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. His less-political Youtube channel can be found here. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW