GOAL: PA's environment is under attack from proposed cuts in EPA funding. We call upon our representatives to stand against the Trump administration's proposed cuts to the EPA and ask our local representatives to consider the welfare all Pennsylvanians and pass a budget that includes recurring revenues and will properly fund the agencies that ensure the safety of our air and water.
We also call upon Senator Toomey and our congressional representatives to oppose the Graham-Cassidy repeal effort as it will leave millions uninsured, including over 1 million Pennsylvanians, cause PA to lose $6 billion by 2026 and $131 billion by 2036, and remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions, gut Medicaid, and bring back lifetime and annual limits.
BRING: A letter explaining why these issues are important to you. Include your full address with zip code and do not place in an envelope.
FUNDING FOR EPA:
The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget are largest proposed cut to any federal agency, and would give the EPA its smallest budget in 40 years. It seeks to shrink spending by 31%, and to eliminate a quarter of the agency’s 15,000 jobs.
Cities all over the country, including Philadelphia, are reeling from dirty, unsafe water, and unsafe levels of lead have turned up in tap water in city after city. And yet, Scott Pruitt's EPA is looking to decrease grants that help states monitor public water systems and make sure communities have access to safe drinking water by almost a third.
Much of the risk to the country’s water supply stems from its crumbling public water infrastructure: a network of pipes, treatment plants and other facilities built decades ago. Although Congress banned lead pipes in 1986, between 3.3 million and 10 million older ones remain, primed to leach lead into tap water.
We need the EPA and its protections now more than ever!
LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT FROM LACK OF FUNDING:
On a local level, our own water ways and air are under attack on various fronts – from permits allowing pipelines to be built without considering the impact on the communities they will touch, to a desperately underfunded Department of Environmental Protection that affects its ability to protect our air and water, to proposed bills like HB 542, which contains dangerous provisions that gut environmental protections without public input. With the proposed EPA cuts and PA’s own budget crisis, our environment is under attack. Trump’s proposed budget exacerbates all these issues, as well as creates various threats including:
-- The Trump administration would eliminate the Nonpoint Source Pollution grant program which poured $23 million into Pennsylvania for protecting such waters over the last five years. The Trump budget also would zero out EPA’s Chesapeake Bay regional program, which brought another $34.3 million to the state in 2012-2016.
-- The president’s budget would end EPA’s “BEACH Act” grants for protecting and monitoring water quality and fecal pollution in Lake Erie. The economies of four Pennsylvania counties are tied to the viability of Lake Erie.
-- Many of the worst areas in America for air pollution are in Pennsylvania. Six areas of the state rank among the top 25 most polluted areas in the country for year-round particles, according to the American Lung Association 2017 State of the Air report, while four make the “worst 25” list for short-term pollution. Philadelphia/Reading falls on both lists and also on the list for top ozone pollution. EPA grants which help states and communities monitor and clean up dirty air would be eliminated or sharply curtailed.
-- There are 95 toxic Superfund sites in the state, (the third highest in the nation) and some 800 brownfield sites ready to be restored and turned into developable land. The Trump budget would cut Superfund and brownfield funding by 30 percent. And Pennsylvania has a backlog of 1,800 underground storage tanks at risk of leaking harmful chemicals into both soil and water; the administration plan eliminates one of two EPA programs to prevent and detect leaks and clean ground and groundwater – and cuts in half the second program.
-- The Trump budget would end the Science To Achieve Results (STAR) grant program, which provided $15.7 million in grants to Pennsylvania universities, colleges and researchers – including Penn State, Carnegie-Mellon, Swarthmore, Temple, U-Penn and Villanova.
-- President Trump and Administrator Pruitt are looking to lay off 3,000 EPA scientists, pollution enforcement specialists, grant administrators and other staffers nationwide, including in the agency’s mid-Atlantic regional headquarters in Philadelphia. The president and EPA chief would toss away science and public health experts with critical know-how, legal and compliance staff who ensure that polluters are held accountable to pay for cleanups rather than taxpayers, and grant administration staff who keep make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent properly.
Statistics above pulled from and detailed information about how PA will be impacted by Trump’s proposed budget can be viewed here: http://paenvironmentdaily.blogspot.com/2017/08/edf-impact-of-trumps-proposed-epa.html
SAVE THE ACA
As Trump attempts to make our air and water dirtier and Americans sicker, he and Senate Republicans are trying to make it more difficult and expensive for Americans to get health care. The Cassidy-Graham amendment will cause 32 million Americans to lose health insurance, including over 1 million Pennsylvanians! Additionally, Pennsylvania will lose $6 billion by 2026 and $131 billion by 2036 while states like Texas will receive $24 billion more. Cassidy-Graham will also remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions, gut Medicaid, and bring back lifetime and annual limits.
Instead of destroying health care for Pennsylvanians, we urge Senator Toomey to support a bipartisan effort to fix the ACA, which the majority of Americans have been asking for months. We also urge Senator Trump to act to thwart Trump's sabotage of the ACA through a 90% cut in funding for ACA outreach, a curtailed enrollment period, and 12 hour maintenance periods on healthcare.gov scheduled for every Sunday during the enrollment period which will do nothing but hurt Pennsylvanians by causing increased costs and premiums.