WASHINGTON – In response to the House Appropriations Committee’s proposed budget, American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 10,000 working people at the Environmental Protection Agency, Council 238 President John O’Grady issued the following statement:
“The proposed $528 million cut to the Environmental Protection Agency by the House Appropriations Committee fails the citizens of our country. It will deny Americans their right to clean air and water, gives freer rein to polluters, and risk the health and safety of future generations. While we certainly applaud Congress for recognizing the work the U.S. EPA does by rejecting the extremely truncated budget proposed by President Trump, AFGE firmly opposes any cuts that would end the Agency’s ability to protect public health and safety.
“The EPA has struggled under decreasing budgets over the past decade, leaving it severely understaffed and underfunded. The budget allocation for 2018 simply brings funding back to the levels of 2008 – which were already dangerously low. Given that 65 percent of our budget is passed through to states, municipalities, and tribal authorities, and knowing that a percentage of our 2018 budget will go to buyouts, what will be left for the EPA?
“We call on Congress to fully-fund the only agency capable of defending community health in this country. Without the EPA, millions of men, women, and children will suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis, and even premature death as corporations will be allowed to spew pollutants into our air and drinking water. The Arctic Circle will continue to melt, endangering wildlife and causing sea levels to rise.
“If we want to ensure that future generations of Americans can continue to enjoy spending time outside without fear of becoming sick from tainted air and water, then Congress must fight for a budget that allows the EPA to continue protecting Americans for years to come.”