MONDAY 10/23/2017

FEDERAL:

Tell Senators to reject cuts to EPA's budget.

The Senate Appropriations Committee and the full Senate may vote on the EPA's budget this week.

Background: 
Cuts in House Bill - The bill passed by the House in Sept. cuts EPA to its lowest level since 1986. Because more than half of EPA’s funds is passed through to states and other entities in grants or contracts, the budget’s overall cut of 8% results in a cut to core Agency programs of 27% - even more than requested by the Trump administration. These programs include clean air, clean water; hazardous waste, pesticides and toxics programs; Environmental Impact Statement review; and enforcement. Funds for science and technology, key underpinnings of EPA’s mission, are cut 16%. Additional budget provisions forecast significant further reductions in EPA’s workforce (the administration had proposed a 23% staffing cut). The Agency’s budget and staffing have been flat or declining for years. It has already lost nearly 2,500 staff over the last three years, and the House budget cuts would require laying off several thousand more. If implemented, the House’s hollowing out of the EPA would take years of political will to turn around. EPA’s mission is broader and more important than ever. EPA’s budget accounts for less than 1% of the entire federal discretionary and non-discretionary budget, so cuts to the Agency amount to almost nothing in taxpayer savings.

Anti-environment Riders - The bill includes damaging anti-environment riders (additional language unrelated to the budget): Withdrawal of the Waters of the US Rule without public comment; exemptions for pollution from agribusiness; a major delay in implementing ozone standards; a requirement to treat biomass as carbon neutral and renewable; an exemption for mining companies from having to provide assurance that they have the financial resources to cover the cost of cleanup after mines are closed (many closed mines are now Superfund sites, cleaned up at taxpayers’ expense).

Script:
Hello, I'm a constituent calling from zip code ______________ to strongly urge Senator _________ to reject the extreme cuts to the EPA budget passed by the House in it's appropriations bill. It's the smallest EPA budget since 1986 when adjusted for inflation. The EPA protects public health and the environment and is very important to me. It's more important than ever that the EPA fulfill its mission to protect the public, not special interests. Will Senator ________ pledge to not cut the EPA budget and not attach any policy riders that weaken the agency? I will be watching closely. Thank you.

Senator Richard Burr
Washington, DC: (202) 224-3154
Winston-Salem: (336) 631-5125

Senator Thom Tillis
Washington, DC: (202) 224-6342
High Point: (336) 885-0685

_____________
 

STATE:

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