The following was submitted by Environmental Advocates of New York.
Albany – The air New Yorkers breathe, and the water we drink, is in danger if Congress does not stop President Trump’s assault on the Environmental Protection Agency.
At the Campaign to Save the EPA launch today, more than 110 organizations statewide sent the message to Congress – particularly representatives John Faso, Lee Zeldin, Elise Stefanik, Chris Collins, John Katko, and Claudia Tenney – to step up, speak out, and ensure Congress rejects the President’s dangerous cuts. The coalition is also asking Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to continue their support and fight for the EPA’s full funding.
The campaign was joined by residents who shared stories about their own experience with the EPA, and how the agency’s actions have protected the health of their families and communities.
In addition to placing anti-science, anti-environmental, and pro-industry allies throughout key positions atop of the EPA, the President has begun efforts to dismantle many climate, clean air and water, and clean energy programs, including reneging on the Paris Climate Agreement, cutting vehicle emission standards imposed after the auto industry bailout, and rolling back the Clean Water Rule. Additionally, President Trump has imposed a staggering 31-percent EPA budget cut, which Congress has the power to block. These cuts will not only affect national programs and enforcement, but leave states like New York without the resources necessary to adequately enforce life-saving laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts (the state Departments of Environmental Conservation, Health, and State may receive unanticipated program cuts).
Phil Landrigan, MD, MSc, FAAP, Dean for Global Health, Arnhold Institute for Global Health, Professor of Preventive Medicine & Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, “The EPA Administrator's decision to cut budgets for environmental remediation, testing, and enforcement will harm the health of America's children. Unregulated air pollution will cause more childhood asthma. Cutbacks in water testing will expose more children to lead in drinking water and cause more Flints. Reductions in pesticide testing and enforcement will increase pesticide poisoning.
All of these EPA cutbacks will increase exposures to pregnant women and thus expose their unborn children to toxic chemicals that damage their brains, immune systems and reproductive organs. I join the 60,000 pediatricians of the American Academy of Pediatrics in strongly opposing these cuts and in urging the EPA Administrator to reconsider his dangerous and wrong-headed decisions.”
Michele Baker, a mom from Hoosick Falls said, “The EPA is the only reason we’re not still drinking cancer water today. President Trump and the people he has running the EPA should be looking for ways to strengthen our laws, to keep what happened here from happening anywhere else. It is beyond immoral that they’re pushing cuts instead. If Congress does not stop the President, people will get sick and die.”
Colleen Fox, a Cazenovia mom, small business owner, and farmer said, “I constantly worry about the planet being passed down to my children and their children. As a family, we work every day to reduce our impact on the environment and, therefore our community, through sustainable farming, recycling, and better transit options. Being a business owner myself, I don’t need any lectures in profitability – I get it! But contaminating our air and water and planet comes with its own costs and is extraordinarily shortsighted and cruel. The public and our greater good, not polluter profit, is the EPA’s responsibility. Central New York’s representatives, Claudia Tenney and John Katko, need to protect the EPA and all of us they represent.”
Eric Weltman, senior organizer, Food & Water Watch said, “Donald Trump is taking an axe to the EPA budget, and the pain will be deeply felt in New York. Trump is endangering the safety of our water, air, and climate, and New Yorkers will face dangerous consequences if he isn’t stopped. We need Senator Schumer, the nation’s most powerful Democrat, to stand strong against any cuts to the EPA’s budget, and we need the entire New York Congressional delegation to join him.”
Peter Iwanowicz, executive director, Environmental Advocates of New York said, “President Trump and industry allies have shamelessly sought to turn the EPA into a boogeyman – but New Yorkers know it is because of the EPA that the Gowanus Canal is getting cleaned up, the Hudson River is healing, and less pollution from western states gets breathed in by our children. Protections, which came from tragedies caused by unchecked pollution, are being sabotaged. New York’s congressional delegation has the moral obligation to block the President’s cuts. We urge them to rise to the occasion, build on New York’s proud history of leading the nation, and keep our air and water safe!”