U.S. House’s Dangerous Budget Cuts to Science, Technology and the EPA Would Devastate Nation’s Science Innovation, Public Health

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jul 18, 2017

WASHINGTON (July 18, 2017)—Today, the House Committee on Appropriations is expected to pass a fiscal year 2018 spending bill that would cut the funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to its lowest level since 2008 and includes a host of harmful anti-science policy riders.

The spending package slashes funding for programs responsible for protecting the nation’s air, water, lands, and public health. It would cut support for successful multistate water improvement programs by about $30 million and assistance grants for states and tribes by $239 million compared to last year’s funding levels. It scales back science and technology funding by more than $100 million compared to the fiscal year 2017 budget. It also proposes a 15 percent cut to the Office of Environmental Justice, among other decreases for various EPA programs popular with lawmakers and constituents.

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“If enacted into law, the legislation would be a grave threat to the nation’s science and technology leadership and public health. It would constrain the ability of the EPA to use the best available science to protect Americans. Though House appropriators did well to support Superfund and chemical safety programs, they simultaneously eroded the likelihood that all communities across the U.S. will have clean air and drinking water.

“This bill is also rife with ideological riders—for example, it attempts to ‘legislate’ that the burning of trees for energy is positive for climate change, which flies in the face of the scientific evidence.  It also delays implementation of science-based standards, and permits the administration to ignore public input as it attempts to withdraw safeguards like the Clean Water Rule. As a result, this spending bill simply gives industries more opportunities to avoid accountability and continue polluting our air and water.

“Make no mistake: this bill is a far cry from what the nation really needs. We can’t afford a bill that slashes programs that protect and maintain our clean air and water. All eyes are on the Senate now to stand up for the best interests of their constituents. Senators must pass a spending bill free of harmful riders that actually reflects the best interests of communities across the United States—not special interests.”