Dearest Friends and Allies,
As 2019 comes to a close, we write to you with a sense of hope, urgency and possibility for the new year ahead. In 2019 we witnessed another round of devastating rollbacks to vital environmental policies like the Waters of the U.S. and the Clean Power Plan. The Trump administration’s attack on policies that protect the air, land and water we depend upon persists, with a total of 95 rules and regulations currently rolled back or repealed. Despite this, 2019 was also marked by the largest climate protest in history, largely led by youth. We stand in solidarity with these climate activists and look towards our weedy plant friends for wisdom and guidance as we continue to resist the policies of Andrew Wheeler (US EPA) and his cronies.
Through our own work, we’ve also celebrated successes and persevered through challenges. EPA agents presented at this year’s College Art Association, led workshops with groups at Rutgers, The New School, City Tech, at Swale, Socrates and UPenn among others. We also developed a project Suit Up, Join the Emergent Plantocene Clean Up for the exhibition, Department of Human and Natural Services at NURTUREart, curated by Mariel Villeré. The show was listed as one of the top ten of 2019 in Brooklyn, NY by Hyperallergic.
In 2020, we have a lot planned and hope you’ll join us in the weedy resistance. The year kicks off with a Winter Workspace Residency at Wavehill (Jan 2 – Feb. 15). While there, we’ll be developing a new project called the Multispecies Care Unit (MCU), a flexible gathering place to catalyze conversation, experimentation and action around current environmental policy, the ongoing climate crisis, and the 2020 elections. We’ll do this through embodied fieldwork, movement improvisation, plant ID and story circles among other tactics. The project will launch in mid-April at the Old Stone House in Brooklyn. Please get in touch if you’d like to collaborate or think you may be able to host the MCU next year.
In weedy solidarity,
Ellie, Catherine, andrea, Chris and the spontaneous urban plants
2019 US EPA ROLLBACKS
CLEAN WATER REGULATIONS
Under the administration’s revised “Waters of the U.S.” rule, about 51 percent of wetlands and 18 percent of streams across the U.S. lost their federal protections.
COAL PLANT WASTE REGULATION
In 2018 the EPA proposed to gut the protections contained in the Coal Ash Disposal Rule by allowing power plants to avoid the clean up of coal ash and deviate from the rule’s clear standards for groundwater monitoring, closure, and more. The rule went into effect in 2019 and will impact the waterways of communities around the US.
CLEAN AIR REGULATIONS
In 2017 former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a notice proposing a repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which requires utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The rule was replaced in 2019 with the “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) rule which weakens emissions standards. In May 2019, Administrator Andrew Wheeler also announced plans to change the way the EPA calculates health risks of air pollution, resulting in the reporting of far fewer health-related deaths.
In 2019, the Trump administration continued the process of rolling back Obama-era fuel economy standards, which were originally set to hit an average of 54.5 miles per gallon for passenger cars and trucks by 2025.
“TRANSPARENCY” IN SCIENCE
In November the EPA issued a new draft of its proposal “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” which the Environmental Performance Agency solicited onbehalfof.life comments last summer. The proposal is still problematically unclear and would limit the kind of data that can be used in making legislation affecting public health and environmental justice issues.
EPA ACTIONS 2019
EPA agents at the Global Climate Strike in NYC with EPA guest agents Dot Armstrong and Ella Hillström
EPA agent andrea gives an embodied fieldwork workshop “Collective Performative Expedition > You Are Here To Feel at Gowanus Canal,” forNora Almeidas’ City Tech students
EPA agents Ellie and andrea give an embodied fieldwork workshop at MERI for Alexandra Chang’s Rutgers Eco Art Class
EPA Retreat in Troy, NY (Photos)
EPA at the Queens Green Day Festival, Socrates Sculpture Park
EPA agents andrea and Ellie show “Asphalt Cutouts for Staying with the Trouble” in the group exhibition Art Stands Still at Collarworks in Troy , NY (curated by Natalie Fleming and Van Tran Nguyen
EPA agents Catherine, andrea, and Christopher facilitate “The Multispecies Waterfront: An EPA Field Study” at Swale
EPA presents Suit Up, Join the Emergent Plantocene Clean Up for the exhibitionThe Department of Human and Natural Services at NURTUREart (curated by Mariel Villeré)
EPA presents the second iteration of Embodied Scientist Parkour at Teaching and Learning with Rising Waters at University of Pennsylvania, Penn Program in Environmental Humanities for the Rising Waters conference.
EPA agents Christopher and andrea participate in the panel Human/Nature, a discussion on art, urban life & nature at SAPAR Contemporary.
EPA agents Elli and andrea perform Asphalt Cut-Outs Participatory Performative Action at the GraftersXChange in Hamilton, New York.
EPA agent Christopher works with Kimberly Reinhardt on the project, They Tried to Eradicate Us, They Didn’t Know We Were Weeds for the exhibition Environmental Empathies at the Callahan Center Art Gallery at St. Francis College.
EPA agents Ellie , andrea, and Christopher present Embodied Science, Small Data, and Weedy Resistance with the EPA at the College Art Association Conference in New York (panel moderated by Patricia Kim).