Save the EPA! Lives at Stake, 110+ Orgs Launch Campaign
Trump Cuts Endanger Local Programs, Congress Urged to Act
Albany – The air New Yorkers breathe, and the water we drink, is in danger if Congress does not stop President Trump’s assault on the Environmental Protection Agency. At the Campaign to Save the EPA launch today, more than 110 organizations statewide sent the message to Congress – particularly representatives John Faso, Lee Zeldin, Elise Stefanik, Chris Collins, John Katko, and Claudia Tenney – to step up, speak out, and ensure Congress rejects the President’s dangerous cuts. The coalition is also asking Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to continue their support and fight for the EPA’s full funding.
The campaign was joined by residents who shared stories about their own experience with the EPA, and how the agency’s actions have protected the health of their families and communities.
In addition to placing anti-science, anti-environmental, and pro-industry allies throughout key positions atop of the EPA, the President has begun efforts to dismantle many climate, clean air and water, and clean energy programs, including reneging on the Paris Climate Agreement, cutting vehicle emission standards imposed after the auto industry bailout, and rolling back the Clean Water Rule. Additionally, President Trump has imposed a staggering 31-percent EPA budget cut, which Congress has the power to block. These cuts will not only affect national programs and enforcement, but leave states like New York without the resources necessary to adequately enforce life-saving laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts (the state Departments of Environmental Conservation, Health, and State may receive unanticipated program cuts).
Phil Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, Dean for Global Health, Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Professor of Preventive Medicine & Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, “The EPA Administrator's decision to cut budgets for environmental remediation, testing, and enforcement will harm the health of America's children. Unregulated air pollution will cause more childhood asthma. Cutbacks in water testing will expose more children to lead in drinking water and cause more Flints. Reductions in pesticide testing and enforcement will increase pesticide poisoning. All of these EPA cutbacks will increase exposures to pregnant women and thus expose their unborn children to toxic chemicals that damage their brains, immune systems and reproductive organs. I join the 60,000 pediatricians of the American Academy of Pediatrics in strongly opposing these cuts and in urging the EPA Administrator to reconsider his dangerous and wrong-headed decisions.”
Michele Baker, a mom from Hoosick Falls said, “The EPA is the only reason we’re not still drinking cancer water today. President Trump and the people he has running the EPA should be looking for ways to strengthen our laws, to keep what happened here from happening anywhere else. It is beyond immoral that they’re pushing cuts instead. If Congress does not stop the President, people will get sick and die.”
Colleen Fox, a Cazenovia mom, small business owner, and farmer said, “I constantly worry about the planet being passed down to my children and their children. As a family, we work every day to reduce our impact on the environment and, therefore our community, through sustainable farming, recycling, and better transit options. Being a business owner myself, I don’t need any lectures in profitability – I get it! But contaminating our air and water and planet comes with its own costs and is extraordinarily shortsighted and cruel. The public and our greater good, not polluter profit, is the EPA’s responsibility. Central New York’s representatives, Claudia Tenney and John Katko, need to protect the EPA and all of us they represent.”
Eric Weltman, senior organizer, Food & Water Watch said, “Donald Trump is taking an axe to the EPA budget, and the pain will be deeply felt in New York. Trump is endangering the safety of our water, air, and climate, and New Yorkers will face dangerous consequences if he isn’t stopped. We need Senator Schumer, the nation’s most powerful Democrat, to stand strong against any cuts to the EPA’s budget, and we need the entire New York Congressional delegation to join him.”
Peter Iwanowicz, executive director, Environmental Advocates of New York said, “President Trump and industry allies have shamelessly sought to turn the EPA into a boogeyman – but New Yorkers know it is because of the EPA that the Gowanus Canal is getting cleaned up, the Hudson River is healing, and less pollution from western states gets breathed in by our children. Protections, which came from tragedies caused by unchecked pollution, are being sabotaged. New York’s congressional delegation has the moral obligation to block the President’s cuts. We urge them to rise to the occasion, build on New York’s proud history of leading the nation, and keep our air and water safe!”
Bill Cooke, director of government relations, Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “Tragically, the Trump Administration seems willing to undermine the health and safety of every American and return to the days of smog filled cities, acidic lakes, polluted drinking water and toxic soils. We are fortunate to have the DEC standing in the gap but they cannot stand alone against the toxic tide that is the Trump budget. The proposed EPA cuts are not based on any analysis but rather an ideological view that our environment, our natural resources and public health are not a concern of the federal government. The New York nine need to act and support a fully funded EPA.”
Sean O’Neill, executive director and Baykeeper said, “At Peconic Baykeeper, we fight to ensure the residents of Long Island can swim, drink, and fish in our water without fear of pollution. Our greatest tool to accomplish this is the Clean Water Act, which the EPA administers. Without careful oversight from the EPA, we risk losing the very thing that makes Long Island special, our fragile water resources. We stand with the EPA”
Caitlin Pixley Ferrante, chapter coordinator of the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter said, “The EPA’s work is important to all of us. The EPA should continue to work to protect our families, our children, our future - not be forced to pander to polluters. The New York Republican Congressional Representatives - the NY Nine - need to save the EPA. Say No to the Trump EPA budget. Protect us, not polluters.”
Debbie Mans, Baykeeper & executive director, NY/NJ Baykeeper said, “Everyone has a fundamental right to have clean air and water, no matter where they live. President Trump's proposed cuts to the EPA budget will have real consequences in communities across New York, whether it comes to contaminated site cleanups or testing the water to see if it is safe to swim.”
Dick Amper, executive director, Long Island Pine Barrens Society said, “Long Island is in the midst of an unprecedented water quality crisis. This region quite literally depends on the EPA for ensuring our most basic environmental needs.”
Rabbi Glenn Jacob, D.D., executive director, New York Interfaith Power & Light said “This fight is not just about the EPA, it is about every plant, animal, bit of dirt, and breath of air that we need to live.”
Bobby Cohen of Democracy for NYC said, “When future generations read about America in the early 21st century, this Congress doesn't want to be the one that is remembered for helping a backwards president trash a hundred years of environmental progress.”
Katherine Nadeau, deputy director, Catskill Mountainkeeper said, “Our communities depend on the EPA. Without clean water, clean air, and a healthy natural environment the Catskills Region's economy would be devastated.”
Carol Chittenden, Empire State Consumer Project, Inc. said, “Rachel Carson said it best, ‘But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.’ When this administration began its attack on the EPA, it declared war on clean air, water, land, food, and all of us in the food chain. Years in the future, when scientists understand the full extent to which toxics are the cause of many illnesses, including many cancers, we can point to the toxic environment which assaults us all and wonder what happened to the Environmental Protection Agency.”
Among the many programs on the chopping block:
- Eliminating the Energy Star and WaterSense programs which help consumers purchase energy and water-efficient appliances.
- Defunding climate change research, and chopping air and energy research by two-thirds.
- Zeroing out funding for Great Lakes and Lake Champlain clean up programs.
- Cutting Superfund, which is already grossly under-resourced, as several New York locations await designation and clean up.
- Eliminating the Office of Environmental Justice, which helps to protect low-income communities of color disproportionately harmed by pollution.
- Zeroing out the science behind the dangers of pesticides.
- Zeroing out lead remediation support for states, placing children’s lives at risk.
- Zeroing out the EPA’s marine pollution and beach and fish safety programs, and more.
- Cutting diesel emissions reduction grant programs by 80-percent.
New Yorkers can take action by texting ‘SaveEPA’ to 52886 or calling 443-345-4405 to be automatically connected with their elected officials.