July 1, 2017
In early March, President Trump released his proposed federal budget, which, as could be expected, was not “business as usual.” Among the many cuts proposed by the President was a reduction in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, cutting the agency’s budget by up to 25 percent and eliminating as many as 3,000 positions.
Among the cuts to the EPA were funds earmarked for Western Washington programs. The budget didn’t sit well with Washington State Congressman Rick Larsen, who was quick to push back on what he saw as a proposal to ‘decimate’ federal resources for Puget Sound.
“I will use every tool at my disposal to oppose these slash and burn cuts,” the Congressman said.
The proposal, according to Larsen, would cut EPA funding to Puget Sound from $28 million in FY 2016 to $2 million in FY 2018.
Concerned that the Trump budget cut EPA funding for Puget Sound by more than 90 percent, as well as cutting funding for NOAA by 20 percent, Larsen stated, “These cuts would decimate EPA-backed Puget Sound restoration and leave NOAA without the necessary resources to fight climate change and support Pacific Northwest fisheries.”
The NOAA budget for 2016 was almost $6 billion. The 20 percent proposed cut would amount to roughly $1.2 billion. An equitable sharing of this cut by 50 states would make Washington’s share around $24 million.
These sound like fairly draconian cuts, until one notes that the Washington State Department of Ecology’s two-year budget calls for almost $1.4 billion. The Trump budget cuts to NOAA and the EPA are just more than 3 percent of the State’s spending on environmental programs – hardly a draconian cut.
Congressman Larsen said he would use every tool at his disposal to “oppose these slash and burn cuts and continue fighting for a healthy, clean and protected environment.” Perhaps the Congressman could better serve his constituents by advising state and federal bureaucrats to live within their means.
Chris Philips can be reached at: 206-284-8285 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org