Plan severely cuts funding to major regional cleanup initiatives
On Feb. 12, 2018, President Donald Trump announced the budget plan for the 2019 fiscal year. The new plan outlines significant reductions for a number of water-related projects and initiatives, calling for a 23% reduction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s annual budget.
Specifically, this would mean cutting assistance to fund water system improvements along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as eliminating partnerships to monitor and restore water quality in large bodies of water such as the Gulf of Mexico and Puget Sound. Funding for the Chesapeake Bay cleanup effort would be significantly reduced from $72 million to $7 million, and funding for the Great Lakes cleanup effort would be cut from $300 million to $30 million.
In a statement, William C. Baker, head of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, called the proposed budget “another assault on clean water, from a president who campaigned saying he valued it.”
“This administration says they want to partner with states, but a 90% budget reduction says the opposite,” Baker said. “The Chesapeake Bay Program is the glue that holds the state/federal partnership together. A cut of this magnitude would severely damage Bay restoration efforts, just at a time when we are seeing significant progress.”
Aside from these substantial setbacks, EPA would be granted an additional $397 million in funding to be put towards wastewater and storm water infrastructure initiatives, funding which was nearly cut before the official budget was unveiled.