Budget proposal risks Ohio communities’ safety
Recent hurricanes have pummeled America’s coasts and Ohio itself is no stranger to flooding and extreme weather. Just this past July, torrential rainfall caused flooding in Central and Northeast Ohio, leading to evacuations and leaving citizens to deal with floodwaters in their homes. Environment Ohio released an analysis Less Shelter from the Storm that showed that pending budget proposals from the Trump administration and Congress threaten key programs that protect Ohio and the Great Lakes from storm-related impacts. These budget proposals would cut funding for shoreline communities to build up their resilience and would target protections for flood-absorbing wetlands, which feed and filter the Great Lakes. President Trump’s budget proposal zeroes out the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
“If there is any lesson to be learned from the recent extreme weather, it’s that we need a budget that gives Ohio more shelter from storms ahead,” said Jennie Olson from Environment Ohio. “Rather than protecting our most vulnerable communities, budget proposals on the table in Washington, D.C. threaten shoreline resiliency, remove protections for flood-absorbing wetlands, neglect funding for stormwater and sewage treatment, and expose more Americans to toxic chemicals.”
Environment Ohio’s analysis found:
- The Trump administration proposes a $2.6 billion budget decrease for the EPA, and elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The House has proposed a $528 million cut. For Ohio especially, EPA restoration projects are important programs to protect the Great Lakes from harmful pollution, including toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie. EPA cuts would threaten the health of Ohio’s waterways, especially in the face of climate change.
- Ohio receives close to $2 million in Coastal Zone Management grants that protect its shores from storms and $1.1 million from the Sea Grant program which provides critical research funding for Great Lakes initiatives. These funds would be cut under the House budget and eliminated under the Trump administration’s version, threatening the health and resilience of Lake Erie communities.
- Wetlands are nature’s flood control, and Ohio has 500,000 acres of wetlands. President Trump and the House budget are targeting the Clean Water Rule making it easier for polluters to dump, drain, and develop our precious wetlands.
“Pending federal budget proposals would cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Ohio Sea Grant’s research on the toxic algae problem, and grants that support state green infrastructure and wetland protection,” said Madeline Fleisher of the Environmental Law and Policy Center. “Each of those steps would hurt Ohio’s ability to protect one of its greatest natural resources and the people who rely on it.”
“This proposed federal budget would significantly cut funding to agencies like the EPA that provide critical funding for environmental research and projects that protect the public’s health and welfare,” said Jan Rybka of the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District. “We need a budget that continues to keep our waters clean and safeguard our communities.”
“We need to make our communities less susceptible to flooding, sewage overflows, and leaks from toxic waste sites, and of course we need to prevent even more intense global warming-fueled extreme weather in the future,” Olson added. “We’re counting on Senators Portman and Brown to protect Ohioans and pass a budget that puts our families’ health and community’s safety first, one that will give Ohioans more shelter from the storms ahead.”
Jennie Olson can be contacted at (202) 683-1250 x388 or [email protected].