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Report: Proposed EPA Cuts Harmful to NV Air Quality

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Advocates fear that EPA budget cuts would result in more "code red" days with poor air quality in Nevada. (Caitlin Hippler/Moms Clean Air Force)
Advocates fear that EPA budget cuts would result in more "code red" days with poor air quality in Nevada. (Caitlin Hippler/Moms Clean Air Force)
September 1, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. – The quality of Nevada's air and water would diminish - if President Trump's proposed 30-percent cut to the EPA's budget is approved.

That's according to a new report from the Environmental Defense Fund. Researchers found that over the past five years, Nevada has received more than $83 million in grants from the EPA to protect the state's environment.

Caitlin Hippler, a military spouse in Henderson, joined Moms Clean Air Force after her five-year-old son developed asthma. So she's fighting to save programs that monitor air pollution.

"People with these kind of health conditions rely on air-quality monitors to tell them when it's safe to go outside, where they should live," she explains. "Some areas of the valley are a little bit worse than others. So if we lose this funding, it's going to be really hard for these people to have a good quality of life."

Trump's budget proposes to zero out funding for a program to address leaking underground chemical storage tanks, one that reduces poisonous radon gas in homes and schools, and one that fights polluted runoff water from parking lots, roads and excessive fertilizer.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt argues that many environmental regulations are too onerous for the business community.

Bill Becker, an environmental consultant and former head of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, says any cuts to the EPA budget will reverse years of progress made in public health, quality of life and the tourism-based outdoor economy.

"It is an extraordinarily small price to pay to equip state and local officials with the necessary financial and regulatory tools to clean up the environment when you fully understand the impacts that could occur if you don't provide these resources," he says.

Congress is set to take up a series of 12 appropriations bills in the next few weeks.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV