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Dem lawmakers push back against EPA Cuts

February 13, 2018 02:28 AM

President Trump's 2019 budget includes money for areas like infrastructure spending.

“A bipartisan plan that every member of congress should support,” the president said during a press conference Monday. “I look forward to working with them.”

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The plan also strips money from departments like the Environmental Protection agency which would see more than a third in cuts.

“Something in the neighborhood of a third cut. 2.8 billion to the EPA,” said Rep. Paul Tonko.

EPA budget reductions include ending the Climate Change Research and Partnership programs.

Funding for the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account and cleanup of some of the nation's most polluted sites are also included on the chopping block.

Congressman Tonko joined state lawmakers and environmental groups during a press conference Monday to warn about the threats to the environment and public health they say the cuts pose.

“We see what happens when we don't address clean air opportunities,” Tonko said. “We have public health worries that develop. Children with growing numbers of asthma cases. Advanced cardio and pulmonary diseases. All sorts of impacts to our public health.”

“The president’s plan released earlier today make no doubt about it will make New Yorkers sick and some of those who get sick will die prematurely,” said Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York.

With nearly 40 percent of EPA funding going to states, democratic lawmakers say the cuts would hit places like New York hard, which relies on the EPA to support cleanup efforts and pollution monitoring programs. 

“That funding is very critical to support these programs,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “And we just can't do it alone. And it's going to make it harder to enforce regulations. We have a lot in place right now to keep our waters clean.”

Current spending for superfund funding is down by about half since the 1990s.

The white house says the administration plans to "accelerate" site cleanups by bringing "more private funding to the table for redevelopment."

Credits

Nia Hamm

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