By Devin Malone
By the end of 2017, about 3,000 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) related jobs, about 19% in total, are at risk of being laid off order to raise funds for military spending. The EPA’s overall funding continues this trend as the new administration’s defense plan will reduce funding by 25 percent within the next few years. Departments such as Climate Protection, The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Environmental Justice will face the largest reductions, confronting budget cuts anywhere between 70 and 95 percent.
Despite the funding cuts to the EPA, Senator Kevin de Leon (D-California) has not been deterred and has taken a stance on the environmental security in his state, and in previous years has made laws regulating pollution.
Leon has been a strong proponent for environmental issues, bringing issues such as the highly hazardous run off caused by an Exide battery recycling plant to light. Leon has also secured millions for environmental protection of Californian resources, as well urban cleanups.
Even with his prior background, many were shocked by Leon’s proposed legislation, one that pushed for California to use renewable energy as 50 percent of its total energy income by 2025, and 100 percent by 2045. The bill is called “Senate Bill 584” and while the current details are vague, Leon hopes to add a few amendments that will help finalize the deal.
This is not the first time that a state has produced a 100 percent renewable energy bill. In June of 2015, Hawaii proposed a similar bill with the same deadline of 2045. Another bill was proposed this February in Massachusetts, and is in the process of being passed but with an extended deadline of 2050.
Yet, despite the support from other states, there have also been those who disapprove of the new bill. Some cite the rising cost of clean energy, especially within the state of California, and claim that the bill may have a damaging and costly effect on the state.
Journalist Todd Royal wrote in his article “The disaster of believing in 100% renewable energy” that passing this bill would do more harm than good due to the already high cost of energy. Royal goes on further to explain how the senate bill will also add on to the trillions of dollars in national debt.
Although there are those who do oppose this bill, there is an even stronger push by states and cities across the United States in support of renewable and cleaner energy source. Cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco are all determined to convert to complete renewable energy despite recent announcements on the EPA budget cuts.