Don't Be Fo$$il Fooled

Trump’s plan to gut the EPA is not about saving money. It’s not about balancing the budget. It’s about taking the top environmental steward off the beat so fossil fuel companies and other industrial polluters are free to threaten our environment and health.

Conveying President Trump’s wish list for the next federal budget, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney recently said,

"The president wants a smaller EPA. He thinks they overreach . . . You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it."

I think most people think Trump’s campaign promise to ‘empty the swamp’ was to lessen the power of lobbyists who prowl the Hill by day and make campaign contributions by night. And in some cases, move into the executive branch to continue their clients’ bidding by pushing to weaken protections and use the public lands as their own to exploit for their own piggy bank.

To President Trump and his budget, the swamp is the Sea Grant researcher from the University of Georgia developing a flood resiliency plan saving residents thousands.

It is the EPA environmental engineer and toxicologist who, like their brothers in the military, sought public service to make the world better.

It is the EPA lawyer with six-figure student loans who passed up jobs with New York firms that make more than federal judgeships to protect our land, air and water from companies like automaker VW, who ignore the rules.

These are real people serving our country.

The two major increases in the EPA budget:

  1. Adding money for Scott Pruitt’s security detail, and
  2. Buyout money to urge people to leave the agency.

The fact is that for every dollar the federal government currently spends, one-fifth of a penny goes to the EPA.

One fifth of a penny to clean up our air and water and protect us from dangerous pollution that harms our health.

Trump wants to cut that by nearly a third, reducing environmental protection resources by $2.6 billion each year—the same amount he wants taxpayers to spend to build a wall and otherwise beef up security along the Mexican border.

Trump’s plan to gut the EPA is not about saving money. It’s not about balancing the budget.

It’s about taking the top environmental steward off the beat so fossil fuel companies and other industrial polluters are free to threaten our environment and health.

It’s about abandoning efforts to clean up iconic waterways like the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay and to stop efforts to get toxic lead out of our drinking water.

It’s about crippling our ability to clean up toxic chemicals from shuttered factories or cleaning contamination from our rivers and streams.

And it’s about cutting the legs out from under the progress we’re making in the fight against climate change.

Congress should, once again, as they did with the FY17 budget—reject this attack on our values and rights, and insist on fully funding the agency we all count on to protect our environment and health.

This budget, takes aim at our natural resources, our environment, and the poor to favor the rich and ignore the future…and most of Trump’s base. If the President’s budget became law, the federal government would stop virtually all domestic and international efforts to curb pollution, ease most climate and environmental science and research, halt efforts to develop energy efficient and renewable energy technologies, and quit helping communities prepare for and recover from storms, floods, droughts and other climate change impacts.

Nobody voted for dirty water and air. Nobody voted to walk away from American climate and clean energy leadership at home and abroad. And nobody voted to abandon the commonsense safeguards we all depend on to protect our environment and health, and leave our kids to pay the price.

That’s what Trump is calling for in this reckless and irresponsible budget.

And that’s why it already has been largely rejected by Democrats and key Republicans—the latter of which included those who brushed it off as D.O.A. The real danger ahead, though, is that some congressional Republicans might use the Trump budget as a starting point, or as a guide, for their own budget plans. They shouldn’t. The Trump budget is a framework for disaster. It should be ignored. Americans deserve better. They deserve a federal budget that delivers hope of a better world for our communities, families and children.

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