Summer is finally here. And we all know what that means: soaking up the sun, spending long days at the lake or beach, maybe even visiting some of America’s amazing national parks. And if anything on your summer to-do list involves being outside, you can thank the Environmental Protection Agency – the agency responsible for protecting the great outdoors, the air we breathe and the water we drink – for helping to keep you safe.
However, President Trump has proposed a massive 31% cut to the EPA budget.
Here are four ways that the EPA helps protect our summers, and how Trump’s budget could jeopardize those protections.
Since the passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970, which established major federal and state regulations that cut emissions of harmful pollutants, emissions of the six most common pollutants, including lead, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide, have dropped by an average of 70 percent. Having cleaner air to breathe means more children, the elderly, people with asthma and others vulnerable to air pollution can enjoy being outside without risking their health. Almost 30% of funding for state and local air quality monitoring comes from EPA, and Trump wants to cut nearly one-third of that assistance. This cut would slash air quality monitoring programs and critical grant money that helps states meet pollution standards.
Protects and restores our lakes and oceans
Trips to the beach or a lake in which to swim, fish, and play are activities of which many Americans partake in the summer. EPA’s regulation of pollution helps ensure those waters are safe. Trump’s budget would cut funds for pollution enforcement, putting public health at risk. Across the country, regional programs in the Great Lakes, the Puget Sound, and the Chesapeake Bay keep interstate waters clean, protecting human health and local marine economies. These regional programs and more like them face elimination under the proposed budget.
Helps keep our drinking water safe
There’s nothing like summer heat to make you want to reach for a cold glass of water. But with the proposed $164.6 million cut for nonpoint source grants to states, some of our most trusted sources of drinking water could become less safe.
Leads science-based technological innovation
Sure, science isn’t exactly summery, but it’s still important. For decades, EPA’s leadership in scientific research has provided the foundation for agency initiatives to protect public health, like the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Innovative agency-developed technologies, like ground sensors that monitor air and water pollution, prove the EPA’s commitment to ensuring a safer environment and communities for Americans.
In addition to giving notice to dozens of scientists that their contributions to science-based policy are no longer welcome, the administration announced that more than 1,200 current positions at EPA are slated to be eliminated by the end of summer. These actions are clear indications of where the administration stands on science and fact-based decision making. Our health, environment and planet stand to lose the most under an administration that views science and facts with such contempt.
So this summer, when you’re enjoying the weather, breathing clean air, sipping on a cold glass of water, remember EPA – and science – helped make it possible. Let your senators and representative know you don’t want safe, fun summers to be a thing of the past.