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Coalition Launches Campaign to "Save the EPA"

The EPA’s Superfund could be cut, leaving sites in New York still awaiting cleanup. (Peak Player/Wikimedia Commons)
The EPA’s Superfund could be cut, leaving sites in New York still awaiting cleanup. (Peak Player/Wikimedia Commons)
June 30, 2017

ALBANY, N.Y. – More than 100 New York organizations have launched a Campaign to Save the EPA. Environmentalists, doctors, public health and civic groups from across the state have joined together to educate and mobilize New Yorkers.

Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of the group Environmental Advocates of New York, says the coalition's goal is to get people to engage with their representatives in Congress, urging them to reject President Donald Trump's proposals to defund the Environmental Protection Agency.

"He's proposed a 31 percent cut to EPA's budget; massive reductions in the amount of money that would flow back to state agencies that protect our air, our water and our land," he explains.

The President claims many environmental regulations hamper economic development. But environmental advocates say rolling back protections will endanger lives.

Iwanowicz notes that the proposed cuts would sharply curtail or totally eliminate funding for cleaning up the Great Lakes, for lead remediation, air-pollution monitors, water-quality engineers and more.

"If you eliminate all that, it becomes nearly impossible for New York State to assure their citizens' public health and that their environment won't get degraded," he says.

The President is also moving to reduce or eliminate regulations protecting clean water and air, and to remove the United States from the Paris agreement on global climate change.

Iwanowicz points out that more than 20 years ago, New Yorkers from both parties joined in resisting attacks on environmental regulations coming from congressional Republicans, led by then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

"We're going to need that type of effort from both sides of the aisle of New York's congressional delegation," he adds. "And it's more urgent now than ever before, because the magnitude of the cuts and the magnitude of the impacts are much greater than they were in 1995."

Funding cuts that could affect New Yorkers include the Superfund for toxic-waste cleanup, and eliminating all funding for EPA programs that monitor marine pollution and teach people to recognize and safely remove lead-based paint in homes.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY