President Trump has officially came out with his plan to cut the Environmental Protection Agency budget by 31 percent so he can dismantle environment protections. By cutting the EPA budget from $8.2 billion to $2.6 billion, jobs at the EPA will be dramatically cut, some reports originally estimated from 15,000 employees to 5,000 employees. This news is along with Trump freezing $1 billion in grants and contracts to states for work like servicing handle hazardous waste, testing drinking water quality, as well as air quality monitoring. At the same time, he ordered Congress to cut a massive $500 million in grants to the states, which could be more under this new proposal. By slashing funding and cutting 10,000 jobs, it will directly impact New Jersey by removing oversight and inspections on regulations. In Region 2 alone, we have 10 offices that work on issues from clean air to emergency and remedial issues, clean water, public affairs as well as enforcement and compliance.
“In another assault on the environment and public health, President Trump is slashing the EPA budget by one third. He is clearly taking aim at the EPA by going after the budget. These cuts will mean that our country will loose close to $6 billion in funding to make sure our water is safe to drink, our land is clean, and our air is pure. This is an outrageous attempt to protect corporate polluters instead of our health and climate. What the Administration is trying to do is get rid of the EPA, by eliminating his funding. Since Trump may not be able to repeal the Clean Air or Clean Water Act, he is doing so by not having funding for these vital programs,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Trump’s budget is part of his plan to get rid of programs in place to protect our environment and roll back forty five years of environmental protections. With all of these cuts, New Jersey could loose at least $500 million in funding. This will mean our toxic Superfund sites will not get cleaned-up, there will be no staff to make sure polluters aren’t violating the law or there is anyone to respond to chemical spills. All of these cuts will put a huge hole in New Jersey’s budget, while hurting our economy.”
Trump’s budget will cut at least 30 percent in funding to the states, which will disrupt water quality testing at toxic sites, while stopping efforts to clean up our water supply and retrofit lead pipes. It will mean there will be no money going to resiliency along the shore, restoring the Delaware Bayshore, planting dunes, or upgrading sewer plants. States will lose money to deal with stormwater and over $100 million to deal with climate change. The EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund for water and sewer projects could be cut as well. This fund deals with water quality infrastructure projects to improve our clean drinking water. There will also be cuts to resiliency grants through the Obama Administration’s Climate Action Plan that allows sewer plants to become more resilient to deal with sea level rise and climate change impacts. This means New Jersey won’t have funding to keep people and property out of harm’s way or protect us from flooding and pollution during a storm.
“In New Jersey, Trump’s budget will have serious consequences because he wants to cut at least $500 million in programs to the states. Our state will loose around $60 million from DEP operations, but it could be more because New Jersey has assumption of federal programs to protect our air and water. That means we will be more affected by Trump’s rollbacks than other states. As a result, we could see the DEP have to cut staff who are responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act, leaving a huge hole in our budget. This move will seriously disrupt the agency’s budget allocations and could even put operations on hold like cleaning toxic cleanups, water quality testing as well as funding on climate change and the 319 program for stormwater,” said Jeff Tittel. “New Jersey will feel Trump’s cuts even harder because DEP gets half of its money from EPA to work on environmental programs, including capital projects. New Jersey could also loose over a $100 million in funding to deal with stormwater, mitigate climate change, and remove lead from pipes and upgrade our water system. Trump is clearly trying to turn the EPA into ‘Every Polluters Agency.”
Trump’s plans include cutting back funding to clean up toxic sites by 42 percent and rolling back National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s work to combat climate change by 70 percent. This will mean there will be more power and chemical plants polluting our environment and no one to make sure polluters are not violating the law or risking public health. Instead of coming into office to deal with major issues like dealing with healthcare, re-building our roads and bridge, or create jobs, he is actually putting us at risk by removing the people who are in charge of protecting public health. At the same time, Trump is planning to cut the Department of Interior Budget by 12 percent.
“Trump has already signed a series of executive orders to weaken protections for clean water and climate change and now he is doing the real damage by dismantling the EPA. Without the EPA being able to monitor facilities, Trump is creating a Polluter’s Holiday. This could create a real disaster in our communities if there is an accident or spill. Next Trump plans to eliminate the Clean Power Plan, which will have a devastating impact on our communities and climate,” said Jeff Tittel. “Together Trump, Pruitt and a Republican controlled Congress is a triple threat for the environment. Along with the rollbacks at the Department of Interior, Congress could even pass legislation overturning the law that prevents toxic dumping in our waterways or increasing fracking and oil drilling on public lands and off our coasts. They have already voted to repeal the Antiquities Act that was passed by President Teddy Roosevelt to established national monuments. The problem is with Trump as President, all those bills that President Obama blocked will be signed by Trump.”
The New Jersey Sierra Club are working with thousands of people across the country to march the streets of Washington D.C. on April 29th to demand action on climate change and fight back against Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump.
“We fought 45 years ago for Congress to create the EPA and now we will fight all over again to keep the EPA in place. With all these rollbacks on regulations and public health, people will be more people will be sick from pollution and getting cancer, but they won’t have health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. This will not only hurt the environment, it will hurt the economy,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Now more than ever we must stand up for clean air, clean water and action on climate change. We must stand up and fight for our environment like we did since the first few Earth Days. It will be up to us to protect our planet from Trump and Pruitt. That is why we need to come together and march in Washington D.C. on April 29th for the People’s Climate March.”