Congress Should Reject Short-Sighted EPA Budget Cuts

Mar 16, 2017 12:20 PM ET
Campaign: Climate Change

BOSTON, March 16, 2017 /3BL Media/ - The Trump Administration announcement of proposed massive budget cuts for programs vital to addressing climate change and broader environmental protections at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is “deeply concerning and flies in the face of what the American people and U.S. investor and businesses communities alike are seeking,” said Ceres President Mindy Lubber.

Lubber, who served as the EPA Administrator for the New England Region in 2000, added:

The American public and all of our children who rely on clean water, clean air and a livable world are the biggest losers in President Trump’s proposed draconian budget cuts for the EPA. The short-sighted dismantling of climate-related funding for basic research and carbon mitigation programs is equally devastating and is a total rebuke of governments worldwide and 1,000 American businesses who are calling for climate action, not inaction.

Over the past eight years, the EPA has distinguished itself with robust, innovative and streamlined efforts to reduce carbon emissions from the electric power sector and to promote clean transportation through more fuel-efficient vehicles that save consumers money. These programs make good economic sense and promote jobs while making America more resilient.

Far from being an impediment to job growth, the Clean Air Act and other environmental laws have proven to be essential in building a healthy and vibrant economy, and have been catalysts for both new jobs and breakthrough technologies.

The impacts would be especially severe on state governments which are hugely reliant on EPA grants to hire staff for their own environmental agencies. The double whammy of fewer EPA staff and fewer employees at the state level will leave local communities completely vulnerable and without support to ensure basic environmental protections, such as clean water and clean air.

In addition to the shortsighted budget proposals for EPA, similar cuts to essential research and development programs at the Department of Energy, and climate science programs at NASA and NOAA will weaken hugely successful programs that have enabled the development of crucial new renewable energy technologies, served to spark US ingenuity and competitiveness, and provided critical scientific data for public and private use.

We urge the Trump administration to re-think its priorities and not to sell the American people short when it comes to the reducing the threat of climate change while ensuring the continuation of common-sense standards that have kept our air and water clean. And members of Congress should reject these draconian budget cuts in light of what the American people have consistently demanded: a country that promotes healthy communities, clean energy, and a low carbon economy.

Ceres is a non-profit sustainability organization that is mobilizing many of the world’s largest companies and investors to take stronger action on climate change, water scarcity and other global sustainability challenges. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a group of 120 institutional investors managing about $15 trillion assets focused on the business risks and opportunities of climate change and water scarcity. Ceres also engages with 100-plus companies, many of them Fortune 500 businesses, committed to sustainable business practices and the urgency for strong climate and clean energy policies.