Colorado News Connection

September 7, 2017Available files: mp3 wav jpg

Report: Trump's Proposed Cuts to EPA to Reduce Colo. Air Quality

Eric Galatas

DENVER - The Trump administration's proposal to slash the Environmental Protection Agency's budget would put Coloradans at risk, according to a new report.

Over the past five years, Colorado has received more than $250 million in grants from the EPA. The report from the Environmental Defense Fund says the administration's proposal would cut the agency to its lowest funding level in 40 years.

Bill Becker, former head of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, says cuts of that magnitude would be catastrophic.

"If states and localities faced a 30 percent cut in federal funding to run their programs, more people would die prematurely, and many more would get sick unnecessarily, and that would be tragic because all of these illnesses are preventable," he states.

The administration maintains that EPA regulations impose burdens on industry that slow development.

But critics of the funding cuts argue that they ignore the costs in health, lives and productivity caused by pollution.

Trump's budget proposes to zero out funding for programs addressing underground chemical storage tanks that leak, and reducing poisonous radon gas in homes and schools.

Becker says any cuts to the EPA budget will reverse years of progress made in public health, quality of life and the tourism-based outdoor economy.

"It is an extraordinarily small price to pay to equip state and local officials with the necessary financial and regulatory tools to clean up the environment when you fully understand the impacts that could occur if you don't provide these resources," he stresses.

Congress is set to take up a series of 12 appropriations bills in the next few weeks.