There’s been a lot of disturbing news this past week coming from the Trump Administration for those of us who cherish healthy ocean, waves and beaches. On Tuesday afternoon, an executive order was signed directing the Environmental Protection Agency to start withdrawing the Clean Water Rule. Protections provided by the Clean Water Rule for small streams and wetlands are necessary to provide regulatory certainty for the environmental and business communities alike, but now the EPA is forced to go back to the drawing board and begin the long, drawn-out rulemaking process all over again. This is bad news for our economy and our environment, and it is particularly ominous for the 117 million Americans that get their drinking water from streams covered by the Clean Water Rule. Ask the citizens in Flint, Michigan if they think now is a good time for the federal government to start rolling back protections for clean water and public safety.
Tuesday evening, President Trump announced his plans before Congress to increase military spending while slashing the budget of domestic agencies like the EPA. Since then the Washington Post and TheHill.com have reported that the Administration’s FY 2018 Budget Blueprint proposes to cut EPA funding by 24%, outlines a 20% staff reduction and the complete elimination of dozens of environmental programs – including climate change initiatives. State-assistance grants are targeted for a 30% total reduction but this will likely mean that no money at all will be available for the BEACH Act Grants program that provides funding to coastal states to monitor water quality and protect public health at the beach. Oregonlive.com reports more details on programs that will potentially be slashed.
While we don’t know how the President’s proposed cuts will be received by Congress, even more direct attacks meant to cripple the EPA’s ability to enforce environmental safeguards and to protect public health have already been introduced into Congress, including a bill submitted by Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to completely terminate the agency. Read more about the onslaught of threats that the EPA and your right to clean air and clean water are currently facing here.
Now more than ever, it is time for all of us to make sure our lawmakers in Washington, DC know what is important to us. The American people didn’t vote for polluted air and water, and we depend on the EPA’s continued ability to enforce environmental safeguards to ensure that our health, environment and even our economic livelihoods are protected.
As a grassroots organization fighting for the protection and enjoyment of our ocean, waves and beaches, the Surfrider Foundation leans heavily on EPA programs and safeguards to ensure that the water that flows down to the beach is clean and free from pollution and that beachgoers have the information they need to avoid getting sick at the beach. EPA regulations and the research the agency supports are also critical as our country and planet face the challenges of climate change, and coastal communities prepare to become more resilient in the face of changing weather patterns, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. Please join us in this fight to Save the EPA.
Pick up the phone and call your Congressional Representatives in DC. Ask them to reject any budget proposals or legislation that would prevent the EPA from doing its job of protecting clean water, clean air and the public health of all US citizens. Remind them that it’s their responsibility to ensure that the EPA is empowered - through adequate funding, staffing and authority - to continue to meet its mission. Find your member's phone numbers here: Senate and House – or click here to send an email direct to their inbox.