Trump EPA Budget Threatens Colorado Health, Economy, and Environment

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Based on his record as Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt has never cared much for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it seems. And he is running the agency that way now for the Trump administration. Pruitt has moved quickly to strip authority and expertise from the agency, and to install the foxes inside the hen house.

Pruitt seems to be intent on attacking science, weakening environmental oversight, and rolling back protections, reworking the EPA’s primary purposes to coordinate and implement the public health and environmental protections included in the variety of federal laws.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes U.S. EPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.

Meanwhile, even as Pruitt is proposing draconian cuts to programs and staff, he has been spending lavishly on his own behalf, joining the other swamp critters in the cabinet, who have also been jetting around on the taxpayers’ dime as a matter of convenience, if not from a sense of entitlement.

While in Oklahoma City that day, Pruitt was interviewed by The Oklahoman on several topics, including his travel. The interview came soon after a report claimed Pruitt spent 43 out of 92 days from March to May in Oklahoma or traveling between Washington and Oklahoma. Pruitt dismissed the allegations as overblown claims by activists aligned with former President Barack Obama.
The Oklahoman, Sept. 29, 2017

Pruitt Spends Big as Trump Proposes Gutting EPA Budget

The curious and questionable expenses don’t stop with tax-funded luxury travel. The nearly $1,000,000 Pruitt has already spent–on a soundproof phone booth, charter jet traveltaxpayer funded trips to his homestate of Oklahoma, and a personal around-the-clock security detail of 18 on-the-clock federal employees–could fund several of the programs that the administration is about to slash. Apparently shrinking government means making way for the polluters, not pinching pennies in one’s own budget.

On the matter of budgets, the proposed Trump budget is a real nightmare for public health and the environment, going after the EPA with a vengeance. For the EPA, although perhaps not for its administrator, very lean times could be ahead, and that’s bad news for Colorado.

The Rocky Mountains are iconic to the state, core to Colorado’s identity. The mountains, and the National Forests and public lands that blanket them, teem with wildlife, replenish watersheds that quench the nation, and provide some of the best hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation in the world.

Colorado depends on these public lands, for the wildlife habitat they provide, for the watersheds they protect, and for the economic, recreational, and community uses they offer.

Public lands drive tourism, attract business, and bring in revenue. Public lands contain the source areas and rivers that allow us to irrigate our pastures and crops, and that bring water to our towns and cities.

Unfortunately, the proposed Trump budget threatens the health of our public lands, and their ability to support healthy wildlife, provide clean water, and offer unsurpassed recreation and hunting opportunities.

As Colorado towns put out the orange to welcome hunters, the success of the season depends on healthy public lands. But few things threaten our public lands and water supplies more than climate change—bringing drying forests, increased pestilence and wildfire, and changes in snowpack and seasons.

Trout streams are at risk from climate change, as are snowpack and snow sports. Even picturesque wildflowers are at risk, as is the colorful Colorado fall.

Public health, the other part of the EPA’s two part mission “to protect human health and the environment,” is also harmed by climate change. In Colorado, wildfires, increasing temperatures and more extreme heat days, and declining air quality all pose significant health risk and are worsened by climate change.

Although the EPA has an obligation to address the pollution driving climate change, it disappears as any sort of priority for the agency in the budget. And the EPA cuts don’t stop with climate change. Colorado’s extractive legacy has left thousands of abandoned mines in the high country, calamities waiting to happen. Of course, we don’t need to speculate what such a disaster might entail, with the recent example of the Gold King mine that fouled the Animas.

But it’s not just Gold King. Over 200 more mines are identified by state officials as leaching heavy metals. By the EPA’s own calculations, some 40 percent of the West’s headwaters are imperiled by this type of contamination. These sites need remediated now. Instead, the anti-EPA budget doubles down on the previous policy of neglect, slashing remediation funds by 30%.

Finally, environmental restoration and protection creates jobs and fuels the economy. Cleaning up toxic sites, deploying technology to capture methane escaping from oil and gas operations, taking smart steps to lessen our contributions to climate change – these actions not only pay in improved public health and environmental dividends but make economic sense as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics good-paying remediation careers in are likely to be the among the most in demand for the next decade and beyond.

The EPA: Vital for Colorado

Clean air, clean water, healthy public lands, a livable climate: these are the very things that the EPA is obligated to protect. Colorado deserves better than purposeful neglect, and it is now up to our Senators, Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, and their congressional colleagues.

Our clean environment is too important. And investment in a clean future is a triple-bottom-line win—good for people, good for the environment, and good for the balance sheet. So, the Senate should send the Trump budget back, and vote for a clean bill—without anti-environmental riders or anti-democratic shenanigans.

The Senate should vote to fully fund the Environmental Protection Agency. Call your Senators and ask that they do so. The future is looking back on us and holding us accountable—the time to act is now.


8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    If only it were just the EPA…

    Energy Secretary Perry Requests Federal Rules to Boost Cost Recovery for Coal and Nuclear

    Specifically, the NOPR singles out the need for new pricing methods to deal with the “premature retirements of power plants that can withstand major fuel supply disruptions caused by natural or manmade disasters, and during those critical times, continue to provide electric energy, capacity, and essential grid reliability services.”

    The proposed rule would “allow for the recovery of costs of fuel-secure generation units” with specific features, such as a “90-day fuel supply on site in the event of supply disruption,” that apply almost solely to coal and nuclear power plants today.

  2. kwtreemamajama55 says:

    Thanks for the diary and for the reminder to write our Senators about restoring EPA funding. I'd add that it's important to write our Representatives, too. All the Republican congresscritters use the same tired talking points about wanting an "all of the above energy plan," and how much they value our public lands but want "decisions about them made locally, not in DC".

    (read: rights sold to the highest bidder who donates to said Congressman).

    Per, Bennet is rated about 75% by environmental groups, Gardner about 20%. The same pattern holds for Republicans vs. Democrats in the House, with Tipton the best of the lot.

    I'm saddened by how gutted the EPA website is – all of the hard-won climate data has been scrubbed from the site. Now, all one sees is superfund and "pest" information. It's against the law to actually delete or modify scientific data – but they've made it almost impossible to find for the average lay researcher.

    One has to do a specific search for what one wants, i.e., "climate change data for Colorado 1975 – 1995", and it is no longer organized or categorized in a reasonable way.

    I understand that most of the hard science databases were put on mirror sites to preserve them.

    • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

      President Obama's people did that because they saw what was coming. Hopefully, the data can be restored and updated when our long national nightmare is over.


    • PKolbenschlag says:

      Some states captured and republished the info, try NY. The House has passed its budget resolution.

      Just one week after lawmakers passed a continuing resolution that would keep the government open until Dec. 8, House lawmakers passed a 2018 spending package that includes all 12 appropriations bills.

      The House passed the $1.2 trillion spending bill with a 211-198 vote. It includes $621.5 billion in base defense spending and $511 billion for non-defense discretionary spending, in addition to $87 billion in total for the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

      It’s the first time since 2009 the House collectively passed all of its appropriations bills in one way or another.

      Lawmakers merged the remaining eight appropriations bills with a “minibus” package that the House passed shortly before leaving town for the August recess.


      Bad news for EPA

      The House spending bill includes $7.5 billion for the EPA, $534 million below fiscal 2017 enacted levels, bringing the agency’s budget in line with 2006 spending levels.

      It “supports the president’s proposal to reshape the agency’s workforce by providing resources requested to offer buyouts and voluntary separation agreements to employees,” the Interior and Environment Committee’s appropriations summary reads.

      The House also slashed federal accounts on studying climate change. Other provisions prevent EPA from enforcing the agency’s methane rule, for example.

      Some lawmakers attempted to prohibit any funds from being used to close or consolidate EPA regional offices, but amendments didn’t pass.

      Another provision prevents EPA from hiring new employees under a special pay authority intended to hire public health professionals at HHS.

  3. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Donald Trump is a MORON and many, if not most, if not all of his believers/followers/concubines are either morons or half-morons

    I hope he gets indicted soon because that's the only thing that will slow him down and force the incredibly hypocritical and cowardly elected R's who support him to take a step back from the ledge which they are pushing our American Democracy over so callously.

    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

      I don't think it's either fair or accurate to call the president a moron, Zappy.  But if he went back to school, studied really hard, and got lucky on his GED exam, he might work his way up to a moron!   For now, he's in the lower ranks of imbeciles.

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