Statement of Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director, Natural Resources Council of Maine
President Trump today released an irresponsible Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget, which would threaten the health of Maine people, our environment, and our economy. Trump’s 2019 budget proposes a massive 34% cut in the EPA budget, even deeper than last year’s slash and burn proposal, which, thankfully, was firmly rejected by Congress and the American people. The Trump Administration proposal would cut $2.8 billion from environmental protection, compared to 2017 funding levels.
We urge Congress to treat these proposed cuts in environmental protection programs as dead on arrival, because they would cause serious harm to Maine and the nation. We look to Maine’s Congressional delegation to provide leadership in building opposition with their colleagues in rejecting cuts that would cripple the EPA by reducing funding to the lowest levels in 40 years.
Federal cuts mean state cuts, because the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) depends on federal funding in order to fulfill its legal responsibilities of protecting people from air pollution and toxic chemicals in our environment; helping keep the water in our rivers, lakes, and streams clean; and taking necessary actions to reduce the threat of climate change.
The President has yet again singled out EPA for some of the deepest cuts in the entire federal budget. This says volumes about his disregard for clean air and clean water, his disrespect for the bipartisan efforts that have helped to protect our environment over the past 50 years, and his lack of understanding of the irrefutable reality of climate change.
Even as we wait for more details to unfold, we can say with certainty that if these cuts are allowed to stand, then the consequences for Maine, the nation, and the world could be dire.
Maine people need a strong, functioning EPA. The Agency’s budget currently is at historic lows and falls far short of the task of protecting our health and environment. We urge Congress to reject this irresponsible budget proposal and to restore adequate funding to our nation’s public health agency, the EPA.