ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL URGES CONGRESS TO REJECT FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S PROPOSED CUTS TO EPA’S BUDGET
Proposal Would Slash EPA’s Budget by $2.8 Billion, Including a $1.4 Billion Cut in Assistance to States
Chicago — Attorney General Raoul, along with coalition of 18 attorneys general, today called on the U.S. Congress to reject “deep and punishing” cuts proposed for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In its fiscal year 2020 budget proposal to Congress, the federal government has proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by $2.8 billion – 31 percent – from current levels, including cuts of $364 million to improving air quality, $1.7 billion to providing for clean and safe water, $278 million for revitalizing land and preventing contamination, and $15 million for ensuring the safety of chemicals in the marketplace.
“These proposed cuts to the EPA budget are irresponsible and will undermine the EPA’s ability to do its job of protecting the health and environment of all Americans,” Raoul said. “I urge Congress to reject this proposal and ensure the EPA has the resources and funding needed to address the nation’s environmental and public health challenges.”
In a letter sent today to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Raoul and the coalition write that the proposed budget would “cripple, if not break” the successful partnership that has existed between EPA, and states and local governments for almost a half century. Further, the coalition charges that cuts of the magnitude proposed would take “our nation back to a time when air and water pollution was widespread, contaminated sites routinely imperiled the health of communities, and unregulated toxic chemicals in food, water, and the environment were a relentless danger to the safety of Americans.”
For over almost a half century, states and local communities have depended on the EPA to be a strong and reliable partner – including through its longstanding commitment of funding to assist in implementing and enforcing our nation’s environmental and public health laws. On average, state environmental agencies receive roughly 27 percent of their annual funding from the federal government. Despite this, the federal government is proposing a cut of more than $1.4 billion – 34 percent – in assistance for states and tribes, including deep cuts in funding for state and local water pollution control, pesticide enforcement, and air quality management, and the complete elimination of federal funding for a number of other state environmental protection activities, including beach protection and pollution prevention.
Joining Attorney General Raoul in the letter are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, as well as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.