On November 22, 2017 the next president of the United States met with staff of the New York Times and said this:
I will tell you this: Clean air is vitally important. Clean water, crystal clean water is vitally important. Safety is vitally important.
And with that statement I found common values with a person who will be my next boss. This discovery is fascinating to me so I decided to explore those values a bit and the federal legacy he’ll be inheriting.
We agree clean air is vitally important. According to the World Health Organization air pollution kills more people than any other environmental reason – more than seven-million men, women and children in 2012 – with about half dying from outdoor air pollution.
In the US emissions from road transportation and power generation caused the highest number of premature deaths (cutting a person’s life short by about a decade). While one death is too many, 200,000 US deaths out of about four million worldwide may show we’re on the right track.
We have this information because US voters and taxpayers have made America great by funding efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency and others to reduce pollutants, and study and monitor air pollution and human health in compliance with the Clean Air Act.
We agree again! Clean water is vitally important. Here again from a global perspective contaminated drinking water kills nearly one-million people per year and sickens over 200-million more.
Here at home, the federally-funded Center for Disease Control, reported “32 drinking water–associated outbreaks… accounting for at least 431 cases of illness, 102 hospitalizations, and 14 deaths [2011-2012].” Sources of those outbreaks are broken into two categories – community and non-community. The main source within community drinking water was unregulated plumbing within hospitals and hotels. The main source of non-community water pollution was unregulated drinking water contamination from ground water sources.
Again, fourteen deaths are regrettable and should have been prevented. But when you look at the overall quality of our drinking water thanks to the Clean Water Act and the EPA you have to believe America has great water and is the envy of most nations.
I’m thankful president-elect Trump values clean air and water. I believe every child has an inalienable right to those things as well as healthy food to eat and natural areas in which to play and learn. I hope he does too. And I hope he learns what has led America to have perhaps the greatest set of environmental protection programs on the planet and makes them even more tremendous. Believe me.