PHILADELPHIA, March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the Trump administration's plan to cut the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by 5 percent next year, American Federation of Government Employees Council 238 rejected the proposal and urged Congress to fully fund the EPA.
"While President Trump's new proposal is less egregious than prior plans to slash the EPA's budget by 31 and 30 percent respectively, it would nevertheless amount to a devastating blow to human health and the environment all across this country," said AFGE Council 238 President Gary Morton, who represents nearly 8,000 EPA workers nationwide. "The EPA is the front line of defense in protecting drinking water and clean air for every single American. Congress must fully fund our budget and should be boosting our resources – not cutting them."
The 5 percent in cuts come at a time when the administration has already failed to fully spend down Congress' previous appropriations for EPA – continuing the trend of underfunding the agency for more than 10 years now. Morton cautioned that the EPA is already struggling to fulfill its agency mandate due to the low-funding, and would be extremely limited in its ability to protect human health and the environment in the future.
"The EPA requires manpower to implement environmental laws," said Morton. "Keeping the funding for pass-through programs like Clean Water State Revolving Fund and other vital state program grants while forcing widespread personnel cuts across the agency is like paying for the firetruck but laying off the firefighters. It won't work and it's just plain dangerous."
"With the budget slashing we've seen over the years we are already cut to the bone. Anything further – even 5 percent – would gut our ability to do the job we were hired to do and complete the mission we have dedicated our careers to," said Morton. "We need Congress to stand up to the administration and give the EPA the funding we need to protect the environment and keep our air and water clean and safe for future generations of America before it's too late."
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.
SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees