There is simply no way to sugarcoat this. If the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 budget, released yesterday, were to become law our children’s health and well being would pay a steep price.
Not only would there be more dangerous and debilitating pollution, but our future economic wellbeing would also be diminished as we go backwards on funding research and development (R&D) designed to help create sustainable economic progress powered by clean energy. To top it off, land conservation would also take a huge hit, diminishing the legacy we leave our children. Three words describe the Trump budget: it is a dangerous, foolish, failure.
If the Trump FY2018 budget were to become law, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to defend our children and the unborn from dangerous pollution would be severely compromised with a 31% cut. For example, EPA programs that protect children and the unborn, such as the Lead Risk Reduction Program, a program that tests endocrine disruptors, and the indoor air radon program, would be eliminated. In addition, just about anything having to do with climate change would be decimated or terminated. In all, 50 EPA programs would be eliminated, as would 3,200 of the EPA’s 15,000 jobs. One word describes cutting EPA’s budget by nearly a third: dangerous.
Clean-tech R&D funding would be decimated, including the killing of one of the most important programs, ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy). The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) would see a 70% cut. As former DOE Secretary Moniz points out, the Trump budget “would put us behind China and Europe, blunting our competitive edge in a multi-trillion dollar developing clean energy global market.” Clean tech is the key to creating a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future, free from dangerous pollution and climate disruption. This Trump budget retreat on clean tech is, in a word, foolish.
The Department of the Interior’s budget represents a failure to be good stewards of our public lands and our ability to enhance this legacy to our children through Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Because LWCF financial resources come from offshore oil and gas royalties, it doesn’t cost taxpayers anything. The Trump budget proposes a devastating 84% cut in land conservation from LWCF. Secretary Zinke justifies this by saying, "Rather than simply adding more land, we want to make sure we take care of what we have." But this is thoroughly undercut by the Trump budget itself, which also slashes the National Park Service by $296.6 million, the Fish and Wildlife Service by $203 million, and the Bureau of Land Management by $162.7 million. That’s not taking care of what we have; it’s a failure of stewardship.
In sum, here is our response to this dangerous, foolish, failure. The Trump budget’s attack on our children’s health and well being will not stand.
It is Congress that writes the Appropriations bills that fund our government. And it is to Congress that we must take our pro-life, creation-care cause. Evangelical pro-life Christians are needed now more than ever in this fight! Stay tuned for our calls to action!
-The Rev. Mitch Hescox, President/CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network