The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) issued a statement Thursday strongly opposing a recently introduced House bill, H.R. 861, which would terminate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
ASLA sent a letter to the bill’s author, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, urging him to withdraw the proposal. The newly elected Gaetz, an attorney from the Florida Panhandle, assumed his House seat last month.
“EPA’s role, protecting human health and the environment, intersects with ASLA’s work in leading the design and stewardship of land and communities,” said ASLA Vice President and CEO Nancy C. Somerville. “More than ever, public health and safety depend on joining together to protect our nation from pollution and the effects of climate change. We urge Representative Gaetz to withdraw the bill from consideration.”
Drinking water and wastewater systems are deteriorating and are costing municipalities and ratepayers billions of dollars in maintenance and repairs, according to the professional society.
ASLA says many communities in the United States are looking to employ less costly green infrastructure solutions to address stormwater runoff – the major contributor to water pollution and unsafe drinking water supplies. Landscape architects rely on the EPA’s programs and tools, including grants, research and other technical assistance, to implement green infrastructure projects that address stormwater management and other water quality issues, ASLA said in announcing its opposition to the House bill.
ASLA said these EPA resources not only have contributed significantly to the design and implementation of green infrastructure projects; halting them would leave state and local jurisdictions without vital programming, guidance and technical assistance.