Dive Into Democracy | Week of 3.20.17

Dive Into Democracy citizen suits Waterkeeper Alliance congressional recess

Dive Into Democracy is Waterkeeper Alliance’s weekly roundup of current attacks on America’s clean water protections and how to take action. Want to get them in your email? Sign up here.

Last Thursday, the Trump Administration revealed the proposed federal budget, which guts funding for many federal agencies – and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took the biggest hit.

The proposed budget would slash EPA’s funding by a third, destroying the ability of the federal government to effectively enforce our environmental laws. It would also hamstring the ability of states to enforce our environmental laws by eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars in state funding – right now, states rely on EPA for one third of their law enforcement funding.

Before EPA existed, environmental protection was left to the states which fell woefully short in their efforts to protect the public from pollution. Polluting industries exposed the public to dangerous chemicals, life-threatening air pollution choked cities, and companies used our waterways as toxic waste dumps. We are still dealing with this legacy pollution today. A lot of work is needed to make all our waterways drinkable, swimmable, and fishable, and reflecting that need, currently over half of EPA’s expenditures are spent to attain clean and safe water.

We cannot afford to go backwards, but that is exactly what will happen if this budget is approved. There will be fewer investigations into criminal and civil violations of federal law, less funding to restore damaged lands and waterways, and fewer studies into new threats to public health.

The Administration’s proposed budget will soon be considered by Congress and lawmakers need to hear from you! Find contact information for your Members of Congress:

Locate your Senators and Representative

ex: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC 20500

Call them and say:

“My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a resident of zip code [ZIP CODE]. I am calling to express my concerns about the proposed federal budget. I oppose the massive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and ask that you oppose these as well. The work that EPA does, and the funding it provides to states is critical to protecting public health and the environment. If EPA’s budget is slashed, we will see backsliding in protections and restoration efforts. I want a safe and healthy environment, and EPA’s work is critical to achieving that.  Therefore, I ask that, as you consider the proposed budget, you oppose all efforts to slash EPA’s funding. Thank you.”

Tip: The first lawmakers to work on the budget are those in the budget committees. Check if your lawmakers are in the House Committee on the Budget or the Senate Committee on the Budget. If they are, let them know that you are aware that they have significant power to shape the budget and that you are counting on them to stand up for human health and the environment.

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United as one powerful force, Waterkeeper Alliance fights for every community's right to drinkable, fishable, swimmable water. For more information please visit waterkeeper.org