My name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP].
EPA’s work to protect public health and the environment is important to me, and I’m counting on the Senate to make EPA strong. The appropriation passed by the House is the smallest EPA budget since 1986 when adjusted for inflation. It’s more important than ever that EPA fulfill its mission to protect the public, not special interests. EPA’s budget should be increased and include no policy riders.
Thank you for your time and attention.
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The House and Senate have both passed budgets, and the focus now is on negotiations between the House and Senate to resolve differences (“reconciliation”). A stop-gap Continuing Resolution expires on Dec. 22, so a final budget is likely to be passed before then. Please contact your senators and representatives now.
Appropriations Process – A Continuing Resolution is in place until December 22, which funds the government at the same rate as 2017. Both houses of congress have passed funding bills, which are damaging to EPA, although the Senate bill is somewhat better. The House and Senate are now reconciling differences between the bills. The bills include several anti-science, anti-environmental policy riders. There is still an opportunity to avoid the worst outcome.
Cuts in House Bill - The bill passed by the House cuts EPA to its lowest level since 1986. Because more than half of EPA’s funds is passed through to states and other entities in grants or contracts, the budget’s overall cut of 8% results in a cut to core Agency programs of 27% - even more than requested by the Trump administration. These programs include clean air, clean water; hazardous waste, pesticides and toxics programs; Environmental Impact Statement review; and enforcement. Funds for science and technology, key underpinnings of EPA’s mission, are cut 16%. Additional budget provisions forecast significant further reductions in EPA’s workforce (the administration had proposed a 23% staffing cut). The Agency’s budget and staffing have been flat or declining for years. It has already lost nearly 2,500 staff over the last three years, and the House budget cuts would require laying off several thousand more. If implemented, the House’s hollowing out of the EPA would take years of political will to turn around. EPA’s mission is broader and more important than ever. EPA’s budget accounts for less than 1% of the entire federal discretionary and non-discretionary budget, so cuts to the Agency amount to almost nothing in taxpayer savings.
Senate Bill - The bill cuts EPA’s budget by $149.5 million compared to the FY 2017 EPA Budget, and does not take into account decades of flat or declining budgets. It also includes troubling anti-science, anti-environment policy riders.
Anti-environment Riders - The bill includes damaging anti-environment riders (additional language unrelated to the budget): Withdrawal of the Waters of the US Rule without public comment; exemptions for pollution from agribusiness; a major delay in implementing ozone standards; a requirement to treat biomass as carbon neutral and renewable; an exemption for mining companies from having to provide assurance that they have the financial resources to cover the cost of cleanup after mines are closed (many closed mines are now Superfund sites, cleaned up at taxpayers’ expense).