By Mary Anne Hitt, Sierra Club
The Trump administration’s recently released proposed 2020 budget is a nightmare for everyone who needs clean air, clean water, and a healthy climate. The budget includes deep cuts to virtually every program in government that protects people from environmental threats, including an outrageous 31% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency and massive cuts to other critical agencies, like the Department of Energy and the Department of the Interior.
While Trump’s complete disregard for public health and the environment should come as no surprise to anyone — especially since he nominated a former coal lobbyist to head the EPA, it does not mean that we will stop fighting for strong clean air and water protections, for clean energy, and for climate action.
Key watershed funding would be drastically cut with this budget — including a cut of $410 million from programs that protect iconic bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, and the Great Lakes.
The proposed budget would also cut several research programs focused on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and the neurotoxin lead. PFAS is linked to decreased effectiveness of childhood vaccines, liver and kidney damage, increased risk of thyroid disease, decreased fertility, pregnancy complications, lower birth weights, birth defects and cancer. In total, more than 16 million Americans, including those living on 126 military baseshave documented PFAS contamination in their drinking water — but as many as 110 million Americans could be drinking PFAS contaminated water. The budget request would slash nearly $220 million from four PFAS research programs. That includes the Sustainable and Healthy Communities program, which researches end-of-life management of PFAS-containing materials such as industrial waste, and household waste to minimize PFAS pollution. The budget would also zero out a $14 million lead remediation grant program.
You may not want to hear more, but this information must be publicized so we can urge our members of Congress to pass a budget that instead funds critical public health, environment, climate, and clean energy programs.
Trump’s budget provides virtually no funding for the EPA’s climate change programs and research, and it even eliminates the EPA’s Office of Global Change Research, which helped create the National Climate Assessment. Another targeted program is the State and Local Climate Energy Program. States play an important role as EPA’s partners in protecting the environment, and EPA support is critical to many state environmental programs.
Natural Gas STAR (voluntary oil & gas industry program to reduce methane leaks)
The Center for Corporate Climate Leadership
SmartWay (promotes shipping goods with less fuel and less pollution).
Clean energy and energy efficiency research funding for the Department of Energy would be drastically cut as well, including a 70% cut to the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office’s budget. The budget would also end the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy.
ARPA-E, which supports transformational energy projects that are too early for private-sector investment and can be meaningfully advanced with a small amount of government funding. Since 2009, ARPA-E has provided approximately $1.8 billion in R&D funding to more than 660 projects that have led to the formation of 71 new companies and have raised more than $2.6 billion in private-sector follow-on funding. For example, it supported companies developing the next generation of batteries and more efficient and less expensive solar wafers that are the building blocks of solar panels.
Unfortunately, the list goes on. This proposed budget threatens lives and we must do everything we can to make sure Congress instead passes a budget that invests in the well-being of our families and the health of our planet.