U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson may not have been in his office Wednesday afternoon, but that didn’t stop students, Centre County residents and the State College mayor from protesting his support of legislation that would limit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority.
Cutting federal funding from the only agency in the country that has the ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions would really set back pollution standards, Penn State graduate student Anne Kaintz said.
At the rally outside of Thompson’s office on Benner Pike in Bellefonte, Kaintz (graduate-chemistry) told the dozens of listeners the kind of repercussions that a lack of pollution regulation has created in other parts of the world. Kaintz said some of the Republican congressmen backing the legislation to cut EPA’s funding are listening to the wrong people for their environmental information. Kaintz said she would like to see Thompson, R-Pa., talk to anyone within Penn State’s science departments.
“This whole idea that there’s some dispute within the scientific community whether global warming is happening — that’s not true,” she said. “If we sit here and ignore it we’re going to have real trouble.”
Eco-Action members also made their presence known at Wednesday’s protest. The group’s president, Kelley Cressman, spoke about the strides the group has made in their environmental efforts, like the part they played in convincing the university to make the switch from coal to natural gas. Cressman said it is important that students alert Thompson and others supporting this legislation that they can’t cut EPA’s funding.
Even though Thompson was at an appointment in Wellsboro during the protest, he made an effort to respond to his constituents.
In a statement, Thompson said his support for the legislation is based around very “tough but necessary choices we must take to protect the future of our country and economic security.”
Thompson continued the statement, and said there has been increased spending at almost every level, and that there will not be any government agency that will escape the pending budget cuts if they are passed.
“Even if we all agree a program is efficient and needed, we can’t spend money we don’t have,” he said.
The protest even brought out the environmentally conscious State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham. She said she was extremely pleased to see such a strong student presence and the students were inspiring because they are using what they learn in class and applying it in the real world to make a difference.