Proposed EPA budget cut could harm Hoosiers, advocates say

By Abrahm Hurt
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency of up to 31 percent would affect the health of families and damage the environment, said state Rep. Carey Hamilton, D-Indianapolis, at a new conference Tuesday.

“The proposed federal budget cuts will eliminate EPA grants to the state to the tune of tens of millions of dollars,” she said. “In a state with poor environmental indicators, we cannot afford to lose this funding.”

State Rep. Carey Hamilton, D-Indianapolis, urges Congress to vote against President Donald Trump’s proposed budget that would cut EPA funding. Photo by Abrahm Hurt, TheStatehouseFile.com

She said the EPA helps create healthy communities in Indiana, supports work that reduces children’s exposure to carcinogens and neurotoxins and ensures there is safe drinking water across the state.

Trump’s proposed EPA budget calls for a funding cut $2.6 billion, from its current $8.3 billion.

Hamilton said the cuts would not only hurt the environment but also the economic activity across the state.

“Healthy communities are attractive to the sorts of employers we’d like to bring to Indiana,” Hamilton said. “Employers that bring high paying jobs to our state. Every time we are ranked near the bottom of the national environmental scorecard, and unfortunately that happens too often, we become less competitive, less able to attract the jobs of the future.”

Jessica Gail, press contact for U.S. Congressman Andre Carson, D-Indianapolis, said he did not support funding cuts to important EPA grants. She also said there is no scheduled vote on the president’s budget proposal.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said it was their policy not to comment or speculate on federal legislation.

Dr. Margaret Frericks, program manager for Improving Kids’ Environment, said the cuts would put children at risk.

Dr. Margaret Frericks, program manager for Improving Kids’ Environment, says that cutting funds to EPA would put Hoosier children at risk. Photo by Abrahm Hurt, TheStatehouseFile.com

She said children are more at risk from toxic substances because they take in more air, food and water per pound body weight than adults.

“The ‘P’ in EPA stands for protection. Something our current administration seems to have forgotten,” Fericks said. “We need the EPA to fulfill this role and provide protection to the states like Indiana who are ill-equipped to do so on their own.”

Hamilton said part of the solution is getting people to understand what environmental dollars actually do, which is improve public health.

“When people hear the word environment, I think they think about trees and forests,” she said. “When I hear environment, I think about my children’s health and the economic viability of our state, and I think that’s how we need to start sending out the environmental message.”

Abrahm Hurt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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