Reports Friday about the Trump Administration’s final recommendations for the FY 2018 federal budget offer states and the public little or no relief from the drastic cuts proposed in the Administration’s proposed budget blueprint in March.
Budget figures obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies released Friday clearly show 40 percent or more cuts to funding to pay states for administering federal programs, the total elimination of the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes Cleanup Programs, cuts to Superfund cleanups, underground storage tanks and much more.
The figures do not deal with cuts to other federal agencies like Agriculture, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy that are critical to state environmental protection efforts.
Click Here for a rundown on cuts recommended in the March blueprint.
While Congress was able to get the votes to restore similar cuts to the FY 2017 budget that passed on May 4, the Trump Administration has always said the real budget fight is for FY 2018 appropriations which need to be finalized in September.
The final recommended numbers are due to be released the week of May 22.
Impact On DEP
The state Department of Environmental Protection receives 30 percent of its funding from the federal government to pay for programs DEP’s administers for the federal government.
The funding is critical to supporting air quality, water quality, safe drinking water, storage tank, hazardous waste regulation and cleanup, surface mine regulation, mine reclamation and other programs.
These potential federal funding cuts come on top of a 40 percent cut in state General Fund support for DEP over the last 14 years and a now 25 percent cut in its staff.
The cuts proposed in the Trump budget would cripple DEP’s key environmental programs, especially since they are occurring on top of the state cuts.
DEP has had no choice but to raise permit review fees to make up for lost state revenue in the past. It may not have any choice but to further increase fees on local governments and businesses to make up for this new loss of federal revenue if these programs are to survive in an effective form.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation issued a state late Friday saying, "It is outrageous that the Administration would eliminate programs that protect clean water, like the Chesapeake Bay Program—this is a program that is effective and yielding results.
"The Chesapeake Bay Program has strong bipartisan support because it is working. Female crab numbers are up, oysters are rebounding, and we have had record acreage of Bay grasses in each of the last four years.
"In addition, the Bay and its rivers and streams support hundreds of thousands of jobs, and are also critical to our quality of life; our property values; and safe, drinkable water.
"People across the nation value clean water, and their Representatives in Congress heard that message when the Administration attempted to zero out funding for the rest of this fiscal year.
"The Bay Program is the glue that holds the multi-state restoration effort together. If it is eliminated, there is the very real chance that the Bay will revert to a national disgrace with deteriorating water quality, unhealthy fish and shellfish, and water-borne diseases that pose a real threat to human health.
"The federal/state effort to restore local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay is a prime example of the cooperative federalism that the Administration has indicated it would like to foster. It makes no sense to end this partnership, especially when it is showing such success. The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure and our children and grandchildren will benefit from the work being done today."
Click Here to send a message to your member of Congress about these budget cuts to the Chesapeake Bay Program.
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