EPA budget cuts have forced many cash-strapped states to cut back on or find alternative funding for important environmental projects, Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post reports.
Congress hailed the $1.6 billion cuts as a step to curbing EPA authority, yet much of that funding eliminated vital support for state-driven programs. The budget cuts lead the EPA to deny Indian Head, Maryland the $1 million requested for sewage-line and manhole rehabilitation, forced Wyandotte, Kansas to eliminate a hazardous waste awareness campaign, and, in Virginia, lead officials to scale-down research projects examining nitrogen run-off in the Chesapeake Bay. Great Lakes and the Puget Sound rehabilitation projects have also been forced to scale down. Additionally, Congress eliminated as much as $8.5 million in funding designated to help states curb carbon pollution.
As some in Congress continue to seek alternative methods to prevent the EPA from doing its job, the states and local municipalities bear the brunt of the assault. “The federal government and state grants are both shrinking while our demands are increasing exponentially,” said Andrew Ginsburg, air quality division administrator at Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality. “We’re definitely feeling the crunch here.”
Ginsburg was quick to add that Oregon was not an exception. “We’re just a microcosm of what’s going on around the country. The same thing is going on in every state,” he said. “It’s just adding up to a crisis mode.”