Environmental causes received little attention from the Trump administration, as the Environmental Protection Agency was gutted. President Biden is expected to restore the agency.
As the EPA was neglected and those working within the agency were overwhelmed, their union was abused. American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 Steward Brian Kelly joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss what needs to be done to get the EPA back on track and the Flint water crisis.
The EPA under President Trump
Kelly said the EPA was abused by the Trump administration and the environment suffered because of it. The main neglect suffered by the agency was the cutting of enforcement workers, causing pollution to go up.
Additionally, the AFGE was abused during the Trump presidency. He said union members were kicked out of offices, resources were stripped and the ability to collect union dues from members became more difficult.
Kelly said the mistreatment of the union and disregard for environmental protection actually “radicalized” many members to become more involved in the union. It is what caused him to assume a more involved role.
However, he said President Biden has a lot of work to do to get the agency back on track.
Fixing the Flint water crisis
Kelly said the water crisis in Flint, Mich. is still a mess and that it will take more time to rectify. The federal government will have to step up its efforts compared to the previous four years to make progress.
Despite how long it will take to fix, Kelly said the crisis should have never happened. He said the Republican-controlled state government could not get it worked out to keep Flint’s water supply coming from Detroit. Additionally, corrosion control was not mandated when the water supply switch was made.