Budget Threatens Michigan’s Public Health & Environment

Media Releases

Environment Michigan

A budget bill being pushed in Congress this week includes a number of measures that would threaten Michigan’s public health and environment, according to Environment Michigan. Under the bill, the Environmental Protection Agency would be barred from taking any action to clean up carbon dioxide and other global warming pollutants from coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other industrial pollution sources; and the EPA would be barred from restoring Clean Water Act protections for many of the nation’s most vulnerable waterways. 

“Michiganders have a fundamental right to clean air and clean water, but this budget bill threatens both,” said Nicole Lowen, State Associate for Environment Michigan. “In economic times good or bad, it’s critical that our government protect public health and our environment, and we’re counting on our congressmen to help defeat this dangerous proposal.”    

Environment Michigan warned that the U.S. House Republicans’ budget bill—also called a continuing resolution—would do the following:

  • Threaten the health of Michigan’s children, elderly citizens and other vulnerable populations by blocking EPA from enforcing the Clean Air Act and cleaning up coal-fired power plants and other large sources of carbon dioxide pollution.  The EPA estimates that clean air regulations saved over 160,000 lives in 2010 alone, and Environment Michigan urged Congress to build upon this success—not tear it down.
  • Threaten Clean Water Act protections for the streams that flow into the Great Lakes and the streams that feed the drinking water supplies of over 1.4 million people in Michigan.  Nationally, the bill would threaten drinking water supplies for over 117 million people and endanger thousands of streams and wetlands across the country by blocking the EPA’s ability to restore Clean Water Act protections for these waterways.
  • Put the health of our drinking water and waterways at risk of sewage and urban runoff pollution by severely cutting funding to Clean Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs).  Michigan would experience a funding cut of nearly $60 million, which would not only hurt our health and environment but is estimated to cost our state 1,667 jobs.
  • Implement the largest percentage cut in EPA’s overall budget in 30 years, severely threatening the Agency’s ability to ensure that all Americans have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.
  • Waste energy and homeowners’ money by eliminating future funding for home weatherization assistance.  In the last two years, the Weatherization Assistance Program has renovated nearly 19,000 homes in Michigan to lower families’ energy bills and reduce our consumption of energy. Weatherizing Michigan’s homes is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save money, cut energy use and reduce dangerous pollution.
  • Endanger efforts to ensure that our national forests and watersheds in the U.P. are protected for families to enjoy now and for generations to come, through cuts to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Cuts to the Department of Interior would limit resources for environmental education programs for youth, park maintenance and public safety in an array of beloved national parks and wildlife refuges across the country. 

“We are dismayed to see House GOP leadership abandoning America’s core environmental and public health programs by attacking the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, wiping our future funding for commonsense home weatherization programs, and threatening to impose the largest overall percentage cut to EPA’s budget in 30 years,” said Lowen.

The budget bill is expected to be considered by the end of the week, and Environment Michigan encouraged all of Michigan’s Congressional delegation to oppose the bill.