Letter: Proposed EPA cuts threaten Maine

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President Trump’s proposed budget is expected to reach the House at the end of May, and it comes with some major cuts to government programs. Most notably, it proposes to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, resulting in the loss of approximately 3,200 staff and 50 environmental programs.

This is an enormous step backwards for environmental protection and our fight against climate change. These cuts will have drastic effects in Maine, where our economy and our environment are extremely connected. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection receives $11.4 million annually from the EPA, helping to fund staff and keep environmental programs running. After five major paper mills closed, Maine has received funding from the EPA’s Brownfield Program to clean up the hazardous waste at these sites so they can be re-purposed and redeveloped. Additionally, the plans to eliminate the Clean Power Plan and weaken the Clean Air Act would affect Maine’s public health and air quality.

Maine is already considered the tailpipe of the U.S. due the to winds that bring air pollution from the Midwest to Maine. If clean air standards and emission regulations are weakened, Maine will likely see an increase in air pollution and subsequently asthma rates. There’s a lot at stake here. This is why we need U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to oppose budget cuts to the EPA in order to protect our environment, our economy, and our livelihoods.

Emma Rotner