Date Published: 02/11/2020 [Source]
President Trump's budget proposal for fiscal 2021 contains a 26 percent cut to funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This would mean the agency is funded only $6.7 billion, rather than $9.1 billion in 2020. The budget would eliminate almost 50 programs, including programs that help fight pollution, radon, and lead. Slashing funding and jobs will directly impact New Jersey by removing oversight and inspections on regulations.
"Trump's war on the environment continues with his latest proposed budget cuts. Once again, our water, air, cleaning up toxic sites, and climate is under assault in Trump's budget. He is trying to dismantle fifty years of environmental progress at the EPA. Not only has he rolled back 87 environmental regulations, now he is cutting the budget by 26% so they can't do their job. They're rolling back the EPA staffing level to what it was back before the 1990s, despite there being many more environmental issues now. These cuts mean that there will be no one to test our air, water, and clean up toxic sites. said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. "EPA staff and budget cuts will hurt our environment and public health."
The President's budget would cut federal funding for Superfund Sites by $113 million to $1.1 million. A recent report showed that the EPA has the largest backlog of toxic waste cleanups in 15 years. There are currently 118 Superfund Sites located in New Jersey, such as the Cornell Dubilier site in South Plainfield, the Crown Vantage site in Hunterdon, and the Diamond Alkali site in Newark.
"This year's proposed budget will cut funding for Superfund sites by 10%. This is alarming in a state like New Jersey because we have 118 Superfund sites, more than any other state. Many of these sites are vulnerable to climate impacts like sea level rise, but they are being capped instead of cleaned up properly. There are already five sites in New Jersey that aren't getting funding, and these budget cuts will mean that even more sites will continue to not be cleaned up properly," said Tittel. "These funding cuts will prevent EPA from performing full cleanups. Every day of delay means more pollution from these sites contaminating our environment and endangering public health."
"Trump is already trying to weaken an Obama-era chemical safety rule, and now he is trying to get rid of the Chemical Safety Advisory Board. This will put more people at risk from dangerous chemical facilities, especially in the case of emergencies or disasters. This is even more important in New Jersey because we have some of the most dangerous chemical facilities. This year's proposal also could mean more DEP staff and budget cuts. With Trump's cuts, there may be layoffs, closing of parks, and termination of other vital programs," said Jeff Tittel. "This means New Jersey won't have funding to keep people and property out of harm's way or protect us from flooding and pollution during a storm."