Sometimes, true life is hard to believe. A year ago, with the country agog about unsafe drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the notion that the US Government would soon reduce the amount of federal money available to help state and local agencies test for water safety would have been regarded as fanciful.
No more. President Trump’s proposed budget seeks to chop spending at the Environmental Protection Agency by $2.4 billion – about 31% -- while eliminating a quarter of the agency’s 15,000 jobs. Among many other cuts, the Agency is proposing to reduce the grants that help states and cities monitor public water systems from $102 million to $71 million. Since many cities have the same eroded pipes that have afflicted Flint, it’s hard to understand why anyone would want to reduce the number of inspectors while simultaneously eviscerating the programs that follow up on and seek to correct unsatisfactory results.
Cutting back support for clean drinking water is only one of many things the Administration doesn’t think are worthwhile. The EPA is proposing to eliminate the $400 million it now spends on regional cleanup programs across the country, including an extensive effort to prevent further damage to the Great Lakes. The Agency wants to cut the $165 million it spends helping states identify and deal with pollutants not regulated by the Clean Water Act as well the roughly $50 million it devotes to monitoring vehicle emissions, despite having recently fined both Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler for cheating on emission tests.
Is there anything the Agency wants to spend more on? Yes. It wants to double the agency’s operations staff and provide a round the clock security detail for Scott Pruitt, the new Administrator, who seems to think the door to door protection provided for prior Administrators is insufficient.
Give you any hint of who and what the new Administration thinks is important?