Michele Rapp - photo by Meghan RalstonBy Michele Rapp, CEO
The Jr. Explorer Club, Upper Arlington, OH, 43221

I founded the Junior Explorer Club to provide quality latchkey services to parents in Central Columbus, Ohio. After growing frustrated with the lack of healthy options for before and after school care, I founded the Junior Explorer Club. We provide activities that involve outdoor, cultural and science based adventures that nurture a love of learning. Our adventures include hiking, cooking, swimming, arts and crafts to engage children in hands-on learning.

Outdoor activities are a large part of our program, so we rely on a healthy environment to be able to offer our kids a quality experience. Many of our programs involve going to parks and watersheds to enjoy nature and learn about ecology. We also offer swimming lessons and visits to Ohio’s lakes.  When the water or air is polluted, it creates a burden on my business to find other activities for that day. It limits the options that I can provide.

Last summer we had an adventure planned at a popular lake in central Ohio. When we arrived, we learned that a water quality advisory was in effect and had to find alternatives to our plans.  This situation can be avoided by making sure we give our EPA the resources to improve our water quality starting at the top of the watersheds and all the way downstream.

As a member of the Ohio Sustainable Business Council, I receive updates on issues that affect my business, including the proposed cuts to EPA funding now being decided in Congress.

Bypassing a public hearing or bipartisan committee markup where Senators could openly debate and amend funding needs for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Senate Appropriations Committee’s leadership released a proposal just before the Thanksgiving holiday that would cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget for Fiscal Year 2018.  The budget will now be negotiated in backroom meetings with the Administration and Congressional leaders as they seek to meet the December 8 deadline to pass an appropriations bill.

The Senate’s proposal eliminates EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) a program that provides foundational assessments of chemical toxicity needed to make wide range science-based health decisions. Citizens and agencies use this information to take actions to protect American families from everyday chemicals around their homes and in their communities. The entire EPA, as well as agencies and states across the country, depends on IRIS analyses to:

  • understand hazards that chemicals pose to children and families
  • advise states, communities and tribes during public health emergencies
  • notify communities about contaminated drinking water and take steps to make it safe again
  • make critical decisions about Superfund and hazardous waste clean-ups
  • provide reviews and risk assessments under the Clean Air Act and Toxic Substances Control Act

Eliminating funding for IRIS and other vital EPA programs would severely diminish EPA ability to help us protect our children and families.

As a business owner, I want the EPA working for me. I support fully funding the EPA. It is an investment in our children’s future environment, which is the foundation upon which we build a vibrant economy.

Take action: sign-on to a letter to Ohio Senators.

 

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