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.
Wisconsin Environment analyzed the FY 2018 budget proposed by President Trump in the spring of 2017 and the current House and Senate appropriations bills and their impact on 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) — the primary agency for protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, and reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals. The administration’s proposal also specifically proposed eliminating or cutting important clean water, coastal protection and slashing toxic waste cleanup programs. To date, the House has also proposed steep but slightly smaller cuts to the EPA of $528 million. 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. Wisconsin Environment is calling on U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson to protect Wisconsinites by fully funding important programs that protect our communities and opposing these and any other harmful proposals.