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Discussion Highlights Ohio Impacts of Proposed EPA Cuts

Since 2010, Ohio has received $13M in EPA grants for Cuyahoga River projects. (Tim Evanson/Flickr)
Since 2010, Ohio has received $13M in EPA grants for Cuyahoga River projects. (Tim Evanson/Flickr)
August 15, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio residents and environmental experts are holding a panel discussion at the Center of Science and Industry Tuesday on the impact of proposed cuts to the EPA. Experts are concerned that reduced funding combined with rolling back regulations for clean air and water would undermine fifty years of progress.

There are nearly 200,000 cases of childhood asthma in Ohio, and EPA monitoring and enforcement is critical to reducing the number and severity of attacks. But for low-income Ohioans, that help may be hard to come by.

Michele Timmons says asthma made her son miss school and require extra educational help.

"Without those EPA protections, children who live in families without the access to resources that we are fortunate to have will be in significant distress," she says.

The congressional budget proposals would cut EPA funding by as much as eight percent, far less than the 31 percent proposed by the Trump administration.

But even an eight-percent cut would eliminate about 900 EPA staff positions in the Midwest alone.

Jane Harf, executive director of Green Energy Ohio, spent six years working in Ohio's EPA office. She knows first-hand how dedicated those workers are to advancing environmental protections.

"Any budget cuts would adversely impact their ability to do the kinds of research and the kinds of permitting and monitoring that are necessary," she laments.

Ohio also receives EPA grants for air quality management and cleanup of the Cuyahoga River - grants which could also be in jeopardy.

And Timmons points out that EPA funding has been declining since 2010 and the agency already is stretched thin.

"The 8-percent cut on top of prior cuts really still counts as a 27-percent cut in the EPA," Timmons explains.

Last week's leak of an EPA report showing the effects of climate change are being felt now has raised further concerns about cuts to the agency's budget.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - OH