The programs that protect our air and water – and promote clean energy – are under attack. Deep cuts proposed by the Trump administration would jeopardize our health, safety and economic future.
How Trump’s budget cuts will hurt our health and safety
Fighting climate change could get harder
The Environmental Protection Agency has a clear legal obligation to protect the public from carbon pollution. The Supreme Court has affirmed EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act three times. No other EPA area of work will be as battered as the agency’s climate programs.
President Trump’s budget would eliminate basically all funding for EPA’s work on climate – including the Clean Power Plan, international climate programs and all climate research.
One reason to care
The Native Inuit people have learned to thrive in some of the harshest conditions on the planet. But their Arctic home is on the front lines of climate change.
As Arctic ice melts and sea levels rise, 600 Inuit residents on Sarichef, a small barrier island that is steadily eroding into the Chukchi Sea, have voted to relocate their entire community to the mainland. The move will cost an estimated $180 million, which they must fund from a patchwork of sources.
Freshwater could become more polluted
The Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater sources in the world, and the lakes provide 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada with their drinking water. The lakes are threatened by problems such as industrial pollution, invasive species and warming waters from climate change.
President Trump’s budget calls for eliminating Great Lakes restoration.
One reason to care
Hundreds of metric tons of sewage, manure and fertilizer not absorbed by crops flow down the Maumee River and are discharged into western Lake Erie – this can lead to a toxic algae bloom hundreds of square miles across. In 2014, a bloom grew so big, it shut down the drinking water for 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio, for three days.
Air quality could suffer
The Clean Air Act of 1970 was passed by a bipartisan Congress to provide comprehensive protection against harmful air pollution. Because of the Clean Air Act, six common pollutants in our air have been reduced by 70 percent.
President Trump’s budget cuts Environmental Protection Agency grants for state and local air quality monitoring by a third.
One reason to care
“People in southwest Louisville (Kentucky) and west Louisville feel they have been dumped on, and we’re just sick of it.” That’s how Louisville Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green responded to a proposal to relax clean air standards for a local chemical plant that emits thousands of pounds of a cancer-causing chemical, 1,3-butadiene.
EPA provides the Louisville district with $760,000 per year for air quality monitoring – which could be reduced or eliminated under President Trump’s EPA budget cuts.
Cleaning up toxic chemicals could slow down
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program is used to clean up dangerous chemicals that have been dumped, pumped or leeched into local communities, threatening residents with unchecked exposure to hazardous waste, radioactive materials and toxic chemicals.
President Trump’s budget calls for a 27 percent reduction in Superfund cleanup funding.
One reason to care
The economy of Libby, a picturesque town in Montana’s northwest corner, relies on tourism. But while visitors take in the mountain scenery, the toxic legacy left behind by decades of vermiculite mining landed Libby on EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List and has led to America’s largest and longest-running asbestos cleanup project, costing $600 million.
As that cleanup finally nears completion, thousands of Libby-area residents continue to suffer asbestos-related diseases.
Billions in consumer savings could vanish
If you’ve shopped for a refrigerator, television, washing machine or computer in the last 25 years, you’ve likely seen products certified by Energy Star. The voluntary program, managed by the Environmental Protection Agency, reviews the energy efficiency of a variety of electronic product categories, and identifies the best performers.
President Trump’s budget eliminates the Energy Star program.
Since its creation, Energy Star has saved consumers $430 billion – $34 billion in 2015 alone – and prevented 2.7 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Without the program, we’ll see higher electric bills, less competitive manufacturing, wasted energy, more pollution and more sick kids.
Fewer homes will become energy efficient
The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office has worked with state, local and tribal governments for decades to assist more than 7 million low-income households find significant savings through energy efficiency.
President Trump’s budget eliminates this U.S. Department of Energy office.
Meanwhile, the weatherization upgrades have lowered families’ utility bills an average of $283 per year and brought demonstrated improvements to health and safety.
Gulf Coast recovery could take a severe hit
Consider Louisiana – an economic engine for our nation, which relies on the Gulf Coast state for energy, shipping, chemicals and seafood.
Every 100 minutes, a football field worth of coastal wetlands turns into open water because of decades of shortsighted management and, more recently, rising sea levels.
President Trump’s budget eliminates the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act – which provides critical funding for sustaining and ramping up Louisiana’s coastal restoration.
In all, more than $100 million will be lost annually if the act is repealed. The prospect of this is already bringing uncertainty to communities and thousands of businesses, including some companies with headquarters many states away – all of whom have a stake in the coast.
Fight the attacks
President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget is a full-scale attack on America’s most fundamental health and safety protections. It would gut our ability to keep our air and water clean and would harm our economic future.
One way to make your voice heard: Tell your members of Congress through EDF Action to reject any budget that attacks the Environmental Protection Agency, at risk of drastic cuts.