President Donald Trump is keen on increasing infrastructure and military spending. To generate funds for these programs, the White House has planned budget cuts for several federal agencies and the Environmental Protection Agency is one of those. Mustafa Ali, an important Environment Justice leader offers his resignation after about two decades of service to the EPA.
Mustafa Ali is a senior adviser for EPA and he also founded the Environmental Justice office during the early 1990s. Through his dedicated efforts, he became an important adviser and he has served in the office for more than twenty years under both Republican and Democratic presidents earlier. The White House was planning on closing down the Environmental Justice office as an integral part of budget cuts. In the budget proposal, the Trump’s team plans on reducing 25% of the budget allocated to EPA and it will result in trimming 20% of the workforce. Justifying the plan to close Environmental Justice office, the White House commented that it would continue to support the idea through Office of Policy. Mustafa Ali’s resignation comes in during this critical time.
During an interview, Ali commented that he wants to depart the agency at this time because he can’t stand and witness the efforts of numerous environmental activities rolled back by the new White House administration. He expressed his sadness that the positive steps were taken by previous administrations and the new policy would affect numerous communities.
Ali cautiously commented that every new administration has its own priorities. However, Trump era doesn’t promise a positive relationship with vulnerable communities that are filled with environmental concerns. Ali has strongly urged the administrator of the agency to rethink before cutting down on EPA programs that are developed to help disadvantaged communities.
The White House administration has planned to cut down several programs like Collaborative Problem Solving, EJ Small grants, and many others. Ali was concerned that the administration is taking decisions without having a conversation with those who are in dire need of the help. He wants the agency to lend an ear to the concerns of the disadvantaged communities and understand that their lives matter.
Scott Pruitt, the EPA’s administrator has not gained the trust of Environmental Justice leaders. The agency was sued repeatedly as the efforts to control pollution often exceeded the legal authority. Pruitt is criticized as his political campaigns were regularly funded by various oil and gas companies. The Republican Attorneys General Association was led by Pruitt and it was also funded by Murray Energy, ExxonMobil, and various other firms. After becoming a part of EPA last month, he has effectively reversed various regulations imposed by the Obama White House. Pruitt was seen addressing the audience that the future of EPA is going to be different and Mustafa Ali doesn’t want to be a part of such a future. Ali was worried that there is too much at stake to allow for rollbacks.