UPDATED: Trump Budget Would Still Increase Water Pollution
When one combines all of the cuts that would be made to EPA grants to states – cuts that target basic program implementation, beach pollution monitoring and notification, contaminated runoff control, and wetlands protection – the cut to water grants to states amounts to a whopping 59% cut.
=================== President Trump announced his proposed budget on Thursday.
This post examines President Trump’s budget with respect to water programs.
Second, the budget proposes to cut nearly half a billion dollars from a Department of Agriculture program that supports improvements to water and wastewater services for small rural communities, meaning the federal commitment to water systems actually would be cut.
Short-Changing State Water Programs Not satisfied with cutting the heart out of the federal government’s ability to implement public safeguards, the Trump budget also proposes to make a 45 percent cut to the “categorical grants” which enable state-run water protection programs to operate effectively.
“Non-point” pollution management – EPA provides grants to states to implement control programs for "non-point" sources of water pollution, like agricultural runoff, which are often poorly controlled but which also can be significant contributors to water bodies’ degradation.
The Bay’s health has slowly improved, however, as states have begun to implement the Chesapeake Bay cleanup blueprint EPA and watershed states established in 2010.
The blueprint, as EPA explains, “is designed to ensure all nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution control efforts needed to fully restore the Bay and its tidal rivers are in place by 2025, with controls, practices, and actions in place by 2017 that would achieve 60 percent of the necessary pollution reductions.” Despite the progress brought on by the state-federal collaboration, the Bay fares no better than the Great Lakes under President Trump’s budget.
Other Geographic Programs: In addition to singling out the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay, the proposed budget says that the administration intends to eliminate funding for “other geographic programs.” It’s unclear whether that includes all such programs, but if so, it would affect federal investments for restoration efforts in San Francisco Bay, Long Island Sound, the Gulf of Mexico, Puget Sound, South Florida, Lake Champlain, and a handful of other important resources.
The administration did not explain why it thinks these projects don’t warrant federal support, and it’s hard to imagine how it could, given the program’s achievements: The EPA investments in these wastewater projects are protecting public health from waterborne diseases and have been a key factor in significant water quality improvements in U.S. waterbodies, such as the Rio Grande (Texas and New Mexico), Santa Cruz River (Arizona), New River (California), and Tijuana River and Pacific Ocean (California).