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Source: The Sun Community News

EPA cuts rejected in federal budget bill

Trump stymied in request to cut Environmental Protection Agency budget by 31 percent

BY PETE DEMOLA

Posted: April 11, 2018
Originally Published: April 3, 2018

ELIZABETHTOWN | The omnibus government spending bill passed by Congress and signed by the president last month rejects deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and fully funds the agency at 2017 spending levels.

The EPA was given $8.1 billion for the 2018 fiscal year as part of the $1.3 trillion spending plan, a sharp reversal of the 31 percent reduction sought by President Donald Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Green groups are praising New York’s Congressional delegation for their efforts to save the funding.

“We want to thank upstate Congressional reps Elise Stefanik, Paul Tonko, the late Louise Slaughter and John Faso, as well as Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, for urging their colleagues to keep EPA’s budget unharmed,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William Janeway in a statement.

SLIGHT BUMP

The plan increases EPA’s budget while also providing funds for other environmental and public health priorities.

Overall, the federal agency received a $763 million increase, according to the Adirondack Council, including $300 million each for the Clean Water Fund and Safe Drinking Water Fund; $63 million for implementation of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and $50 million for new grant programming to address lead in drinking water.

Since taking office last January, the Trump administration has rolled back a number of Obama-era initiatives, including pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Accord and repealing the Clean Power Plan, a policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, hailed stakeholders for silencing “the anti-environmental, anti-public health cacophony radiating from Washington.”

“Only by standing together could we have beaten back the egregious, dangerous and reckless proposed cuts coming from the Trump Administration,” Iwanowicz said in a statement.

The spending bill also received high marks from Food & Water Watch, NY/NJ Baykeeper and Citizens Campaign for the Environment, among other green groups.