A six-month spending bill unveiled by House Republicans Monday night would see large cuts in environmental spending in the U.S. According to Politico, the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget would become “about $1.6 billion below 2010’s funding.” That adds up to a 16 percent cut to the EPA and could lead to drastic reductions in funding for some of the agency’s key projects.
But what will such a large cut mean for some of the agency’s key projects — specifically those in Florida, such as Everglades Restoration and the implementation of a set of proposed water quality rules?
According to EPA Public Affairs Specialist Davina Marraccini, those details aren’t yet known. “EPA staff are reviewing the funding levels in the continuing resolution and we will have more details when that review is complete,” says Marraccini. “We understand the need to make difficult decisions to ensure the government lives within its means.”
Back in March, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that cuts would, in fact, be detrimental to clean air and water projects in the country. ”Big polluters would flout legal restrictions on dumping contaminants into the air, into rivers, and onto the ground,” Jackson said to a Senate committee. “There would be no EPA grant money to fix or replace broken water treatment systems. And the standards that EPA is set to establish for harmful air pollutants from smokestacks and tailpipes would remain missing.”
In addition to cutting funding to the EPA in the newly unveiled six-month budget, lawmakers from Western states included a rider that allows states to de-list wolves from the endangered species list.
Though several members of Congress support the cuts, the general public likely does not. A recent survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation International for the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 77 percent of Americans think that ”Congress should let the EPA do its job.” Sixty-one percent of Republicans answered the same way.