Gaetz holds town hall at Superfund Site to push EPA bill
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) —
Congressman Matt Gaetz faced a crowd of protesters during one of his stops in Pensacola on Thursday. The freshman congressman was at the American Creosote Works Superfund Site to push his controversial bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"Pentachlorophenol and other chemicals impacted the soil, impacted adjacent properties and for a period of time, impacted the water table and ground water," Gaetz told the crowd.
He said the site is an example of how the EPA has failed. It has been 34 years since the problem was identified and to date, the issue has not been addressed. Gaetz claims if the money that goes to the EPA instead went to the states, Florida would have done the job by now.
"By resourcing the activities that can lead to broader environmental protection, then we'll have the opportunity to actually solve these challenges, rather than have to observe them languish for decades at a time," Gaetz said.
Many who showed up to his event did not see it that way. Dianne Krumel, president of the Democratic Women's Club, was among the protesters.
"I believe that by showing up, we let people know and it encourages other people to get involved," Krumel said.
Gaetz took questions from the crowd. Some wanted to know how the states would work together on disasters that crossed borders. Others questioned if money would be evenly dispersed. Some, like Krumel, just wanted Gaetz to know they think the EPA is doing a fine job.
"I've grown up here, lived here, we know what the EPA does and he's trying to spin his own facts as to what he believes the EPA has done," Krumel said. "I'm not buying what he's trying to sell here today."
Gaetz is not showing any sign of budging on the issue, despite pressure and opposition he has seen.
"I do not believe the environment is best served by the EPA," Gaetz said.
H.R. 861 has not been touched since February. It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Environment.