Protect Our Health and Safety: No Funding Cuts for the EPA!

Since President Trump revealed his full 2018 budget proposal in May, Congress has been debating and passing spending bills that will determine the funding levels of critical agencies that we rely on to advance science, keep our air and water clean, and protect our children’s health.

Both Trump and many in Congress have taken particular aim at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment. President Trump, back in May, proposed cutting the EPA budget by more than 30 percent.

Moreover, in early September, the House of Representatives passed a spending bill that would cut the EPA budget to its lowest funding level since 2008. In the House bill, the agency's research division would lose more than $100 million in critical funding. Other cuts would directly impact communities of color, including a 15 percent reduction to the Office of Environmental Justice, which works to ensure that certain communities don’t bear a disproportionate share of environmental risk. The House bill was also riddled with harmful “policy riders,” or additional strings attached that sideline science.

Luckily, the House of Representatives doesn’t have the final say. The process next turns to the Senate, where Senator Murkowski of Alaska is in the process of drafting a bill that would help determine the funding levels of the EPA.

Here is our ask. Call your senators today and ask them to protect funding for the EPA!

Are you a resident of Alaska? Please call Senator Murkowski and urge her to ensure there are no cuts to the EPA's budget and no harmful policy riders that would undermine science-based decision-making at the agency!

You can reach Senator Murkowski’s office by calling 202-224-6665.

A call-in script is below to help guide you, as is background on the key EPA program areas we need to protect. You can also learn more about how to have a successful call.

If you’re not a resident of Alaska, please call your senators today and ask them to weigh in with Senator Murkowski, the lead author of the bill that will help determine the EPA funding levels, and voice their support for full funding—no cuts!—to the EPA. You can reach your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Once again, a call-in script is below to help guide you, as is background on the key EPA program areas we need to protect.

Call-in script if you live in Alaska and are calling Senator Murkowski

Hi, my name is ______, and I’m a constituent from [town/city in Alaska].

I’m calling to let Senator Murkowski know that I strongly oppose any cuts to the EPA budget and any harmful policy riders that would make it harder for science to be used when the agency is doing its critical work.

Among the areas that I’m most concerned about are: the EPA's Science and Technology Account, including EPAs National Vehicle and Fuels Emission Laboratory; compliance and enforcement throughout the EPA budget; the Superfund Program; and the Office of Environmental Justice.

Please pass along my concern to Senator Murkowski that there be no cuts to these critical programs that protect the health and well-being of all Americans.

Thank you for your time.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

Call-in script if you live anywhere other than Alaska

Hi, my name is ______, and I’m calling from [town/city].

I’m calling to express my strong opposition any cuts to the EPA budget and any harmful policy riders that would make it harder for science to be used when the agency is doing its critical work.

Among the areas that I’m most concerned about are: the EPA's Science and Technology Account, including EPAs National Vehicle and Fuels Emission Laboratory; compliance and enforcement throughout the EPA budget; the Superfund Program; and the Office of Environmental Justice.

I want to ask [Senator X] to oppose any cuts to these critical programs and areas of the EPA, and to weigh in with Senator Murkowski, Chairwoman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, and ask her to protect the funding of these critical programs, as well.

Thank you for your time.

[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

Did you make a call?

Thank you for taking action! Please let us know how it went, so we can highlight the impact that UCS supporters like you are having! It only takes a minute to fill out the survey—your reports from the field are greatly appreciated!

Additional background on critical programs and areas that must be fully funded

The EPA’s Science & Technology Account funds EPA research that addresses a wide range of environmental and health concerns. It encompasses both long-term basic and near-term applied research to provide the scientific knowledge and technologies necessary for preventing, regulating, and abating pollution, and to anticipate emerging environmental issues. The House bill cut this account by 14.75 percent.

One critically important program under this account is the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuels Emission Laboratory. The Vehicle Lab plays a critical role in doing transparent analysis for the development of fuel economy and emissions standards and watchdogging the automotive industry. (For example, the Vehicle Lab verified and provided the data needed to prosecute Volkswagen for Dieselgate). President Trump wanted the program’s funding cut by 18 percent.

Funding is also critical for compliance and enforcement throughout the EPA budget, especially the Superfund Program and the Environmental Programs and Management Account, including full funding for the Office of Environmental Justice. Enforcement and compliance are critical, for example, to deterring polluters from allowing toxins to enter our air and water, and ensuring polluters pay a price when they do. Yet the House cut enforcement by 15 percent and compliance by five percent in the Environmental Programs and Management Account; it also cut enforcement seven percent in the Superfund Account.

Moreover, the Office of Environmental Justice, which works to makes sure that certain communities don’t bear a disproportionate share of environmental risk, was cut 15 percent in the House budget. 

Last revised date: September 27, 2017