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With Bill, Rep. Matt Gaetz Seeks to Eliminate Tourism and Jobs in His Own District

This past Friday, first-term Republican Representative Matt Gaetz introduced a new piece of legislation that stands to directly kill jobs and indirectly harm the industry in the district he represents, possibly setting a new speed record for counterproductive behavior in the U.S. Congress.

Gaetz’s bill, H.R. 861, would if passed entirely eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. No reforms and no replacement of EPA function are envisioned in the bill.

“It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently…. This legislation abolishes the EPA effective December 31, 2018,” Gaetz wrote in an e-mail message to his congressional colleagues. With the elimination of the EPA, there would no longer be any agency empowered to stop corporations from polluting American cities, mountains, rivers, or beaches.

In an odd twist of fate, Rep. Gaetz’s legislation stands to negatively impact the 1st Congressional District of Florida that he was elected to represent. The Gulf Ecology Division of the EPA studies the relationship between on-land activities and water quality in order to maintain safe water conditions that sustain Florida’s considerable tourism industry. The GED is headquartered in Gulf Breeze, Florida, where it employs 123 people. If Gaetz’s legislation passes, 123 jobs will be immediately be lost in his district.

Over the long term, Gaetz’s legislation has the potential to cause serious harm to the Pensacola area that he represents. The area’s economy relies on a large number of visits by tourists to Pensacola’s famous beaches and the Gulf Islands National Seashore, but those visits are in turn dependent upon the health and safety of the Pensacola area coast. Unfortunately, before the creation of the EPA Pensacola’s waters were not that safe. Before the EPA was created, a private wood treatment factory released cancer-causing dioxins into Pensacola Bay without consequence. Since 1983, the EPA has been working to clean up the old factory, protecting Pensacola Bay and its tourism industry. The EPA has done the good work of cleaning up another wood treatment facility near Pensacola’s residential neighborhoods that poisoned residents’ soil. Before the EPA intervened, the Pensacola Naval Air Station was allowing radium paint and insecticides to leak in its bayside location. “Most of it is contamination that occurred before the environmental rules came out. People used to dump stuff wherever,” explains cleanup specialist Greg Campbell. These are just a few of the number of EPA projects to clean up pollution in Pensacola and make the city a safer place to live and to visit. They would be scuttled if Matt Gaetz’s bill passed, and the old “dump stuff wherever” standard would quickly return.

Although Rep. Gaetz’s bill is remarkably harmful to his own district, the impact of H.R. 861 will not be limited to Pensacola if it passes. Similar losses to jobs, to human health and to ecological health will be felt across the country. The Republican Party has frequently been criticized as the party of danger and damage; Matt Gaetz’s impulsive action does little to dispel this image.

8 thoughts on “With Bill, Rep. Matt Gaetz Seeks to Eliminate Tourism and Jobs in His Own District”

  1. Al Hopfmann says:

    Why are you making the presumption that Nixon’s fascist EPA is not tyrannical? Are you an Establishment Republican?

    1. J Clifford says:

      The EPA is not fascist. It is established by democratic law. It operates under the law. It isn’t pro-corporate. It doesn’t use violence and discrimination to rule.

      Do you know what the word “fascist” means, Al?

      1. Al Hopfmann says:

        If you think that the EPA is not fascist, then I strongly suspect that you are not a farmer, or maybe not even a small landowner, and certainly not a constitutionalist.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          I recall perfectly well how polluted this country was before the EPA, how improved it has been, and how that old pollution never managed to stay on private property, but rather insinuated its way into our PUBLIC lands, our PUBLIC air, and our PUBLIC water, at which point it became not at all fascist to regulate pollution in order to save lives.

        2. Juniper says:

          Protection from corporate abuse by industry, whether it’s manufacturing or by huge agribusiness, is the opposite of fascism, which is a form of government known for allowing powerful corporations to do whatever the hell they want to people so long as they don’t challenge the ruling elite. For you to say that the EPA is fascist shows you have no idea what fascism is. You don’t like being protected from pollution. That doesn’t mean the EPA is fascist,

          1. Al Hopfmann says:

            Pollution problems in this country were caused by Establishment judges since the 1870s NOT upholding individual property rights by not finding corporations, individuals, and governments at fault for damage that they clearly caused to other people’s property. Transgressors were favorably protected from being held accountable. The biggest offenders were the federal and state governments. Property damage liability laws were adequate to fix these problems, but were ignored or violated by the Establishment judicial system. That is part of the essence of fascism. Establishing an unconstitutional government bureaucracy to fix a problem that was caused by government not protecting individual rights is the type of fraud that unlimited government advocates continually use to achieve their objectives. There were deniers in Mussolini’s era too.

  2. J.A. Cullen says:

    Unfortunately, all Matt’s constituents do not live in the same bubble he does. Correct me where I’m wrong, but water in rivers do not stop at state borders, nor does the Gulf flow not skip Florida shores (BP Gulf oil spill??) . SOOT, MERCURY vapors, etc from coal fired power plants don’t stop at state borders either. What about the water that starts flowing North of Florida and nourishes the Everglades?? Find a shred of a working brain, Matt and try to work for most of the folks that elected you instead of protecting your family and patrons.

  3. Pingback: Republican Senator Matt Gaetz from Conservative Florida Panhandle has A lot of Secrets in his Closet - Part 1
  4. Trackback: Republican Senator Matt Gaetz from Conservative Florida Panhandle has A lot of Secrets in his Closet - Part 1

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