Wheeler Testifies in Defense of EPA Budget Proposal That Would Put Americans in Danger

Statement of EDF Senior Vice President Elizabeth Gore – April 2, 2019

April 2, 2019
Keith Gaby, 202-572-3336, kgaby@edf.org

“This week, both House and Senate subcommittees will have a chance to ask EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler about the shockingly small budget proposed for his agency in President Trump’s 2020 budget – and they should ask some hard questions.

“Subcommittee members should ask Mr. Wheeler why his agency is weakening the newly reformed chemical safety law, why EPA actions against criminal polluters have dropped dramatically under the Trump administration, and why he is seeking to undermine safeguards against carbon and mercury pollution. They should ask about a new report that found political interference with the Integrated Risk Information System – a critical program that assesses the dangers of toxic chemicals. And of course, they should ask how Wheeler intends to protect our kids’ health and safeguard our communities if EPA is severely underfunded.

“EPA is the agency tasked with protecting us and our families from dangerous pollution in our air and water, from toxic chemicals in the products we use, and from climate change. Yet the Trump administration wants to cut EPA’s budget by 31 percent – even though it’s already just a tiny part of the federal budget. Those kinds of drastic cuts will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for EPA to fulfill its mission to keep Americans safe.

“In real dollars, EPA’s budget is even less than it was about 40 years ago, despite large increases in the agency’s responsibilities and in both the American population and economy in that time. Today, 125 million Americans still live in counties with unhealthy air and up to 10 million homes still get their drinking water through lead pipes. An underfunded EPA will ultimately mean more asthma attacks, more heart problems and other serious diseases, and more premature deaths for Americans.

“The Trump budget proposal would put America’s health and environment in peril. It should be dead on arrival in Congress.”

- Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs

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