1. Update
  2. Environment & Energy

Proposed Budget Cuts Harm Public Health, Vulnerable Communities, and Our Climate

By Emily Wirzba, May 26, 2017

The President’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies would deeply hurt U.S. development of renewable energy, the ability to enforce US clean air and clean water laws, and efforts to address climate change.

Overall, the President proposes reducing the EPA by almost $2.6 billion from FY 2017 levels, which is a reduction of over 31%. The budget would return EPA funding levels to the 1970s, gutting common sense Clean Air and Water Acts safeguards that protect our air and drinking water from mercury, lead, arsenic, and other pollution.

Specific cuts to the EPA which concern FCNL include:

  • Science and Technology budget cut by nearly 40%, including zeroing out EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Program and important climate change research.

  • State and local air quality monitoring funds cut by one third. This monitoring warns families about “Code Red” days, when the air is too polluted for children with asthma and seniors to spend time outside.

  • Office of Environmental Justice eliminated. The office seeks “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” 

  • Infrastructure assistance for Alaska Native Villages (almost $20 million) zeroed out. The program provides critical support for the relocation of villages threatened by climate change.

  • Popular state and regional programs (almost $427 million) eliminated. The programs include the Great Lakes Restoration Program, the Chesapeake Bay Program, the South Florida Program, and many others.

  • Cleanup of hazardous waste (Superfund) sites cut by over a quarter.

  • Environmental education programs ($8.7 million) eliminated.

  • Energy Star and other voluntary climate programs ($66 million) eliminated.

In addition to cuts at the EPA, the budget completely eliminates many other climate- and energy-related programs, including:

  • The Green Climate Fund and the Global Climate Change Initiative, as well as other multilateral assistance that is critical for developing nations to reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and Weatherization Assistance for Low-Income Persons Program, which help low income households – in particular the elderly, the disabled, and households with young children – pay for heating or cooling their homes and improve home energy efficiency.

  • Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, which invests in big energy ideas not traditionally attractive to private investors.

President Trump’s proposed budget would make the US more dependent on fossil fuels, severely hamper our ability to address climate change, and make it more difficult for communities with toxic air and water to thrive. Despite this dangerous vision, it is up to Congress to actually pass a budget. There has already been bipartisan congressional opposition to these funding cuts. Your voice is more important than ever.

Emily Wirzba

  • Legislative Representative, Sustainable Energy and Environment

Emily Wirzba leads FCNL’s lobbying work to achieve bipartisan recognition of climate change and action in Congress. Emily meets with members of Congress and their staff to promote FCNL's environmental priorities. She also works closely with FCNL's network across the country to organize constituents to lobby, write, and advocate for bipartisan environmental action in Congress. She currently serves as co-chair of the Washington Interreligious Staff Community's Energy and Ecology Working Group.