Our union is calling on Congress to protect public health and reject the Trump administration’s proposed cuts of 31 percent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) next year.
The EPA is one of the Trump administration’s biggest targets in 2020. In addition to the budget cuts, the administration also wants to reduce the workforce by nearly 2,000, but the EPA’s staffing is already the lowest it has been in decades. It is already severely underfunded and understaffed. The EPA cannot survive any more reductions and still be able to protect the American people from environmental harm.
“Our sisters and brothers joined the EPA because they believe in the work we do, but the constant attacks on our agency and our livelihoods are crushing morale and hurting productivity,” said Gary Morton, president of AFGE Council 238, which represents nearly 8,000 EPA workers nationwide. “We just want to do the job we were hired to do and protect human health and the environment for our children and generations to come.”
Here are a few examples of the administration’s proposed cuts to the EPA’s core mission that would endanger public health:
- Clean air programs would be cut by $364 million.
- Clean water programs would be cut by $1.7 billion.
- Land contamination prevention programs would be cut by $277 million.
- Chemicals safety programs would be cut by $14.5 million.
The Trump administration also proposed to eliminate several public health protection programs, including:
- Pollution prevention categorical grants.
- The radon program.
- Environmental education.
- Puget Sound protection and restoration.
- San Francisco Bay protection and Restoration.
The EPA is the front line of defense in protecting drinking water and clean air for every single American. Without enough funding and manpower, the agency won’t be able to enforce environmental laws and hold polluters accountable.
“Forcing widespread personnel cuts across the agency is like paying for the firetruck but laying off the firefighters. It won’t work and it’s just plain dangerous,” Morton said.
The Trump administration has tried consistently to undermine the EPA’s ability to do its work. It tried to cut the agency’s budget by 30 percent in 2017 and 31 percent in 2018. It also wanted to reduce the workforce by 25 percent, or nearly 4,000 people, last year. It has since rolled back several regulations protecting the American people from pollution.
The proposed 31 percent cut also comes at a time when the administration failed to fully spend Congress’ previous appropriations for the EPA.
Join our union and help protect the EPA’s mission
If you are a federal employee and haven’t joined AFGE, join us now and help protect all Americans and hold polluters accountable.