Trump repeatedly calls upon the importance of safety in his new budget blueprint, released to Congress today, but apparently he doesn't see protecting America's citizens from toxins and disease as a part of our wellbeing.
To offset a proposed $54 billion spike in defense spending, the White House has suggested deep, sweeping cuts across the rest of the federal government. The hardest hit department would be the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—which would lose over 30 percent of its current annual budget and 3,200 employees.
These budget cuts, former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy told Motherboard in an interview, "could have a really significant impact on public health over time, and frankly even in the near term."
The $2.6 billion in cuts would hamstring the ongoing environmental science research that the agency is involved in, like understanding the toxicity of compounds, the distribution of harmful contaminants, and identifying new pollutants.
The EPA "is out there to provide the science that public health professionals in the states need to make better decisions," Thomas Burke, environmental scientist and former Deputy Health Commissioner of New Jersey, told Motherboard. "It's very short sighted to shut down the science and then to wait around for the public health emergencies."
In addition to general cuts, the budget would eliminate all funding to the Clean Power Plan—the Obama-era regulations designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants—and all funding to climate change research and international climate change programs.
This shouldn't come as a surprise given the administration's aggressive ignorance on climate science: Administrator Pruitt doesn't think carbon dioxide is a contributor to climate change, despite scientific consensus.
The budget would also shave off $330 million from the Superfund Account. This is money that would otherwise be used to clean up and restore hazardous waste sites. As of 2014, there were 1,322 such sites in the United States.
The administration does propose a slight increase in spending on drinking water infrastructure, offering up $4 million to the State Revolving Funds, a program meant to prevent drinking water-crises like the one in Flint, Michigan.
This is at direct odds, however, with the administration's ongoing attempts to roll back the Waters of the US Rule, which protects drinking water sources for 117 million Americans. The costs of treating polluted water sources would far outstrip this meager increase.
It also doesn't fit with the budget's proposal to close down funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That project aims to clean up the largest system of surface freshwater in the world, the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to millions of Americans. In 2014, Toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie creeped into residents' drinking water in Toledo Ohio, filling it with deadly cyanotoxins. Without this project, and EPA's funding, those crises are likely to become more common.
In a public statement released today, former administrator McCarthy called the budget proposal and "all out assault on clean air, water, and land."
"You can't put 'America First' when you put the health of its people and its country last," she said.
from Trump’s EPA Cuts Mean Massive Layoffs, Dirty Water and Toxic Chemicals