How EPA Budget Cuts Could Affect Public Health

By Christine Todd Whitman

Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget, described the administration’s new spending proposal as a “hard-power budget,” and by design it echoes President Trump’s top campaign priorities—namely, national security. But to create additional funding for defense programs and immigration enforcement, the budget would cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent.

The EPA isn’t the only agency slated to suffer, but it is absorbing the largest blow. Faced with a cut of $2.6 billion, it would stand to lose approximately one-third of its total budget, cutting its resources to the lowest level in 40 years, adjusted for inflation. The cuts to the EPA are significantly greater than those suggested by congressional Republicans—who proposed a modest $291 million cut from former President Obama’s last budget request—and they’re achieved in part by eliminating 3,200 positions, one-fifth of the staff.

Beyond the raw numbers, the unprecedented budget cuts to the EPA would pose a great danger to Americans’ lives if enacted. Practically speaking, funding for climate-change research would be axed, public-health programs would be effectively defunded, state environmental programs would be closed, and regional projects would end. Make no mistake: Human health would be endangered.

There are a number of health risks inherent to the proposed budget cuts, thanks in part to Trump’s promises to leave only “a little bit” of federal regulations. For example, the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention runs a program that screens and tests endocrine disruptors, which are harmful chemicals that pose a threat to reproductive health and children’s growth and development. Under the Trump budget, funding for this program would be cut from $7.5 million to $445,000—rendering the program inoperable and ineffective. Trump also wants to significantly cut the federal radon program to the tune of 80 percent. Radon, a …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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