With recent massive hurricanes pummeling our coasts, we need to do more to protect our communities. We need to make them 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. Unfortunately, as detailed below, pending budget proposals from the Trump administration and Congress threaten key programs that protect our communities. Rather than protecting our most vulnerable communities, budget proposals on the table in Washington, D.C. right now would threaten coastal resiliency, remove protections for flood-absorbing wetlands, neglect funding for stormwater and sewage treatment, and expose more Americans to toxic chemicals. While we do everything in our power to cut the pollution that will fuel even more extreme weather in the future, we need a budget that supports programs that can shelter us from the coming storms.
Environment Ohio analyzed the FY 2018 budget proposed by President Trump in the spring of 2017 and the current House appropriations bills for how they would affect programs that protect communities from storm-related impacts. Overall, the Trump administration proposes a 31% ($2.6 billion) budget decrease for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To date, the House has also proposed steep cuts to the EPA, but of $528 million.
The EPA is the primary agency for protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, and reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals. The EPA conducts important efforts to clean up pollution hotspots. For the Great Lakes, these restoration projects are important because healthier waterways are more able to serve as natural flood barriers and keep citizens safe from harmful pollution. Furthermore, the EPA is responsible for holding polluters accountable. The Trump administration and House’s proposed cuts to the EPA budget put these and other critical functions in danger. In fact, the Trump administration’s budget proposal would eliminate funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and other budget cuts in both the Trump administration and House proposals would threaten Ohio’s coastal resilience and the future health of communities on the Great Lakes.
The Trump administration’s budget also proposed eliminating or cutting coastal protections, neglecting important clean water programs, and cutting toxic waste cleanup programs. The House spending bills also include several harmful legislative “riders,” including one that targets the Clean Water Rule, which protects flood-absorbing wetlands. The House bill also cuts important coastal protection programs and initially slashed clean water grants to states. Environment Ohio is calling on Senators Brown and Portman to protect Ohioans by fully funding important programs that give Ohioans shelter from the storm and by opposing these and any other harmful proposals.