By Sharon Francis
I write to urge all who care about our health and environment to urge Washington lawmakers to oppose the administration’s proposed 25 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency budget.
The Trump Administration seems to believe that environmental protection is an enemy to be vanquished. Their proposed cuts are deep and mortal. Slated for total removal are Radon testing and control, beach water quality testing, diesel emissions reduction, and multipurpose grants to states. The water quality improvement grants for some of our country’s most valuable fishing, shipping, and recreation areas would also be gone: these include Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and the Great Lakes.
Grants from EPA to states like New Hampshire for drinking water, air quality, water pollution control, lead detection, nonpoint source pollution, toxic substances compliance are slated for 30 percent cuts. Most of us have heard that the administration favors the point of view that climate changes cannot be blamed on carbon dioxide emissions, so rather than invest in research from which they might gain improved information, they propose to cut climate research by over 70 percent.
Overall, the administration proposes to cut EPA funding by $2 billion. What is at stake? Most of EPA’s actions in behalf of water quality, air quality, and toxic substance control are investments in public health. At a time when the nation is deciding how much it wants to invest in health treatment, we would be well advised to continue our investments in avoiding health problems. Keeping contamination out of our air, water, and soil is a major way to do that. Furthermore, clean, attractive rivers, lakes, seashores, hills, and valleys are economic assets. They attract investments, whether from tourists or from families who wish to enjoy nature nearby.
Thousands of students have gone on field trips, studied the ways of water, taken college courses in the many pathways to a prosperous society and a healthy environment at the same time, and are pursuing careers in the technologies of saving energy and safeguarding life on our planet. We owe it to them, as well as to ourselves, to retain a strong, well-funded EPA.
I am now retired, but have worked in the environmental field for over 50 years. I love my country, and do not want to see it make a foolish, unnecessary mistake.
ACT member Sharon Francis lives in Charlestown., NH. She has devoted her career to conservation and the environment, and is a a recipient of the EPA Lifetime Achievement Award.