Target: Lindsey Graham, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee
Goal: Block proposed cuts to Environmental Protection Agency programs that support waterway quality.
The proposed $2 billion overall budget cut to the Environmental Protection Agency includes significant cuts to waterway restoration programs. This includes efforts to maintain the ecological health of vital waterways such as the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes and Puget Sound.
The Chesapeake Bay struggled for many years with pollution, poor water quality and a declining fish and shell fish industry. The Chesapeake Bay Program was started in 1983 by the Environmental Protection Agency in an effort to preserve the largest estuary in America. Under the Trump Administration proposal, all federal funding, totaling $73 million in 2016, would be removed from the program. This would cripple its efforts to restore wildlife habitats, reduce pollution and monitor water quality.
Furthermore, since 2010 the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has supported water contamination mitigation projects across the Great Lakes region. Its creation was in response to a toxic algae outbreak, which impacted drinking water for 500,000 people in Toledo, Ohio. This effort has been successful in restoring ecological health to the region. Restoration projects may also have significant economic benefits, as a recent study of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative attributed $80 billion in total return to the region, with $50 million for the city of Toledo. These benefits were cited by a bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers in a letter to the EPA administrator calling for preservation of $300 million in federal project funding.
Echoing restoration efforts in the east and Midwest is the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, which has directed water quality monitoring, pollution reduction and ocean acidification mitigation projects in Washington state since 1997. The proposed reduction in funding from $28 million to $2 million would potentially threaten water quality and the local shellfish industry employing over 3,000 in mostly rural communities.
It is clear that the proposed cuts to water restoration programs would negatively impact a diverse range of communities across the country. Please sign the below petition calling on Congress to reject the Trump budget proposal in its current form.
Dear Senator Graham,
I am writing to urge that Congress reject the current budget proposal containing substantial cuts to water restoration projects across the United States. These critically important efforts help to maintain water quality, reduce pollution and protect marine industry in places such as the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes and Puget Sound.
Several of your Republican colleagues have lobbied for the preservation of federal support for these programs. Please consider joining them in your capacity as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: NOAA