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'We deserve clean water,' writes Temple student fighting to protect EPA

Temple University student Dana McKay shares her family's experience with contaminated water.

Letter to the Editor

I’m from a Chicago suburb near the village of Crestwood, Illinois, where my family experienced the direct effects of a lapse in environmental protection by local officials to save money.

In 2009, it was discovered that one of Crestwood’s water system’s drinking water wells was contaminated by perchloroethylene and vinyl chloride, dry-cleaning chemicals linked to cancer, liver damage and neurological damage. City officials reportedly knew about the contamination and still drew from the well for over two decades. My cousin, who was 7 years old at the time, was one of many people who got sick and fought for their lives as a result of drinking contaminated water.

Politicians ignoring environmental protection to slim down budgets at the expense of public health is far from a local problem. The U.S. Senate will soon vote on the Environmental Protection Agency's budget appropriation. President Trump wants a whopping 33 percent cut to the EPA, and it is a possibility that he will get it. If our representatives cut the EPA’s budget, the consequences to our public health and safety will be catastrophic.

That’s why I intern with Defend Our Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental advocacy club at Temple University. The organization, a project of the Environmental Defense Fund, works toward climate solutions and a clean energy economy.

I work with students to fight these dangerous budget cuts because if they are passed, the horror faced by my family may not be isolated to that small village in Illinois. We can fight to cultivate change right now by contacting our representatives and making our voices heard. Together, we can protect the EPA.

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