Letter from Doctors, nurses weigh in: federal budget threatens our health

Last updated: 12/7/2017

Dear Member of Congress,

We, the undersigned professionals dedicated to safeguarding and improving public health, write to urge you to stand against any attempts to cut funding for health and environmental protection. We also urge you to oppose any legislative attacks on protections for our air, land, water and climate that would threaten our health.

As you prepare final federal spending legislation we wanted to express our concerns with budgets proposed by the U.S. House and the Trump administration. The proposed budgets set dramatically low levels of funding for several programs that protect our environment and our health. These cuts and the harmful rollbacks to environmental protections will result in dirtier air and water, sicker families, and fewer protections for our public lands.

As health care professionals, we know the importance of protecting our patients from harmful pollutants in our air and water and urge you to support robust funding for environmental programs including:

  • EPA’s regional cleanup programs that protect the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Lake Champlain, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, Long Island Sound, Gulf of Mexico, and South Florida,
  • Superfund and Brownfields programs that protect Americans from toxic chemicals,
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund which prevents sewage overflows and runoff pollution,
  • Clean Water Act grants programs that protect our clean drinking water and
  • Coastal Zone Management Grants Program and Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program which both keep us safe from global-warming fueled extreme weather.

Additionally, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), should be fully funded at $900 million to support local parks, protect lands ranging from the Pacific Crest Trail to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and expand protections for the Everglades and other major parks. Access to outdoor recreation can improve our kids’ and families’ physical and mental health through more exercise.

Finally we are dismayed to see proposals in congress that would:

  • Delay life-saving smog standards for 10 years, preventing Americans from even having the right to know if the air they breathe is unhealthy and severely delaying cleanup steps,
  • Remove protections for the drinking water sources for 1 in 3 Americans,
  • Obstruct states’ ability to regulate industrial factory farms, endangering drinking water sources,
  • Attack clean car standards that are already cutting pollution and
  • Undermine climate science and programs that would cut global warming pollution.

This is the wrong budget for our health and environment. I urge you to help craft and support a budget that will lead us to a cleaner, greener, healthier future that is free of harmful anti-environmental provisions.

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