Did you know that, before we had robust environmental protections in this country, rivers caught on fire? Google "Cuyahoga river fire" (photo: Ohio History Central). And check out Love Canal and Tom's River, too. We've come a long way, but unfortunately we may be headed back to the bad old days.
The White House has proposed deep cuts to the EPA's budget for implementation of environmental protections. Here's a summary of the cuts that have been proposed (from Washington Post, 3/2/17):
- annual budget would drop from $8.2 billion to $6.1 billion, including grants to States for environmental protection
- EPA staff would be cut from 15,000 to 12,000 employees nationwide
- the Chesapeake Bay cleanup budget would be slashed from the current $73 million to $5 million in the next fiscal year
- 38 programs will be eliminated including grants to clean up brownfields, environmental justice programs (yup, protections for our poorest citizens), climate change initiatives, and funding for native Alaskan villages
- the Office of Research and Development could lose 42% of its funding
The Flint MI lead poisoning is an example of what happens when we don't enforce environmental protections; this disaster will have impacts for many decades to come. The proposed EPA cuts will multiply the Flint MI disaster and affect folks around the country. Time to let our representatives know that we don't support rolling back protections.