WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler will testify in front of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee about the Fiscal Year 2020 budget proposal for the EPA. The hearing – Budget: Environmental Protection Agency – is the first opportunity legislators have had to question the administration on the proposed 31.2 percent cut to the agency’s budget next year.
“To properly support our work, the EPA must be funded at around $11 billion with 16,500 full-time workers – a far cry from the outlandish $6.1 billion proposed by the president,” said American Federation of Government Employees Council 238 President Gary Morton. “We are already grossly underfunded and understaffed, and any additional cuts will prevent us from fulfilling our mission to protect children’s health and the environment.”
President Trump’s budget for 2020 would cut $2.7 billion from the agency and comes not long after the EPA failed to spend down the funds appropriated in FY 2018. With staffing already down to less than 14,400 nationwide from more than 18,000 at the turn of the century, Council 238 fears further cuts will hinder their ability to invest in infrastructure needs, enforcement, and the life- and cost-saving regulations administered by the EPA.
Thankfully for EPA workers and the citizens that rely on them, there are members of Congress who are not happy about the proposed budget.
Morton echoed the members of Congress supporting funding the EPA, saying, “Every year we’re able to save 230,000 lives through the Clean Air Act. We provide $30 in health benefits to the American public for every $1 invested in compliance. We work tirelessly to ensure the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we live on is clean and safe for all citizens. If the EPA continues to be underfunded, understaffed, and unable to fully exercise its statutory and regulatory authorities, our communities and environment will be at a greater risk.”
“We need members of Congress who believe in clean air and safe drinking water to support the agency that protects children’s health and the environment – before it’s too late,” added Morton.