United Farm Workers

 

Speak out to stop dangerous cuts to EPA

Details are emerging about Donald Trump's plan to slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency — and the consequences are serious. It appears corporate interests are the only winners.

The latest reports President Donald Trump's planned cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency would slash its workforce by almost 3,000 employees and its budget by $2 billion. It would reduce the EPA staff by a fifth, just in the first year. The cuts would include key programs including those that impact farm workers’ lives.

One of the cuts includes a 94% cut to research on studying endocrine disruptors which are chemicals often found in pesticides. The research would nearly be eliminated, dropping from $7.5 million to $445,000. Endocrine disruptors, can interfere with the body's reproductive and developmental systems. Young children who are still developing are especially vulnerable. Where would this leave farm workers and their children, who live in areas often surrounded by pesticides?  

An internal memo obtained by multiple news outlets on March 1 called for a complete dismantling of the Office of Environmental Justice and elimination of a number of grant programs that address low-income and minority communities. This program has a goal for all communities to enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and have equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. This office was founded under President George H.W. Bush in 1992.

The cuts not only affect rural communities. Another cut includes beach water quality testing of bacteria levels of beaches throughout the country. The $9.5 million budget would be eliminated. Still another cut directly affects the beaches in Southern CA, as sewage and garbage from Mexico frequently sweeps into San Diego during winter rainstorms. The EPA has funded work there to slow the flood of garbage into the Pacific Ocean. This program would be cut from $3 million to $275,000.

Another cut is closing the office of Public Engagement, so there will be even less transparency and accountability to you and me.  

Congress can and must stop Trump's budget. The EPA is already underfunded and we cannot let him cripple the agency charged with protecting the health and safety of our communities.

While the details are still emerging, it's clear that Trump has declared war on our environment and he doesn't care who suffers as a result. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will no doubt scale back enforcement of many critical laws, but Congress has to approve his proposal to slash the budget and severely debilitate the agency's role in protecting American families. Tell your members of Congress to reject all attempts to slash EPA funding!

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