Blogs > Docket > Groups to NY’s federal officials: New York State needs a robust, fully-funded EPA

Groups to NY’s federal officials: New York State needs a robust, fully-funded EPA

In early May, nearly 20 environmental, conservation and sportsman groups sent a letter to New York’s federal delegation urging them to stand up for a robust, fully-funded EPA. The letter is copied below. We urge you to contact your representatives to support the EPA, NOAA and federal programs that support and protect clean water.

 

 

RE: New York State Needs a Robust, Fully-Funded EPA

Dear New York’s Congressional delegation:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, and the hundreds of thousands of New York residents that we collectively represent, we respectfully urge you to support a robust, fully- funded Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the FY2018 federal budget. We are grateful that Congress largely maintained funding levels for EPA in the recent budget agreement for the remainder of FY2017, rejecting appeals by the Trump administration to make significant cuts to key environmental programs during the current fiscal year.

In response to burning rivers and smog-filled cities, the U.S. demonstrated great foresight in creating the EPA in 1970. For more than 45 years, the EPA has played a critical role in enforcing laws, conducting scientific research, and implementing programs that protect our land, air, water, and health. From fighting acid rain to restoring our treasured waterways to protecting communities from toxics, the EPA has helped make New York cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable. We now face significant challenges such as climate change and emerging pollutants in our waters, making EPA’s role as important as ever.

As you know, the president’s proposed budget for FY2018 slashes EPA funding by 31%, which would be the most significant cut to any federal agency, and result in cutting over 20% of EPA staff. These cuts would decimate EPA’s ability to address a broad range of significant responsibilities, including enforcement of national environmental laws, critical scientific research, and implementation of programs that directly impact New York. In addition, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has many staff positions that are dependent on grant funding from the EPA, including over 80 positions in the Division of Water. New Yorkers are depending upon our Congressional delegation to fend off these unjustified, draconian cuts that would eviscerate programs to protect New York’s land, air, water, and health.

New York’s environment and economy are dependent upon having a strong and fully-funded EPA. Air and water pollution does not respect state boundaries, therefore; pollution that occurs in other states impacts our environment and public health in New York. EPA establishes and enforces national standards, which helps to curb interstate pollution and ensures a level playing field for states and businesses. Therefore, states don’t have to sacrifice the health and welfare of their residents in competing with one another for business, thus avoiding a “race to the bottom.” Businesses then operate on a level playing field from one state to the next. New York often stands as a national leader on issues of environmental protection, and must not be put at a

competitive disadvantage to states that don’t put as much value in environmental and public health protection. Uniform environmental regulations are good for New York’s businesses.

New York State depends on a host of programs funded through the EPA budget, including but not limited to:

  • The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) has invested over $150 million in 286 projects all throughout New York’s Great Lakes basin since 2010. These projects have helped clean up toxic hot spots, protect drinking water, restore critical habitat for fish and wildlife, fight invasive species, and so much more.
  • The Long Island Sound Geographic Program has helped restore 1,750 acres of habitat and tidal wetlands, reduce nitrogen pollution entering the Sound by 42 million pounds annually, and vastly improve both water quality and the health of local fisheries.
  • The National Estuary Program (NEP), which supports restoration efforts through the Long Island Sound Study, Peconic Estuary Program, New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program, and others.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program, protecting the largest estuary in the country, directs water quality improvement and preservation funds to 19 New York counties that fall within the watershed.
  • The Lake Champlain Basin Program, which coordinates efforts by New York, Vermont, and Quebec to preserve and enhance the environment of the basin for a wide variety of uses.
  • The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) provide low or zero-interest loans that allow communities to upgrade sewage and drinking water infrastructure, respectively. New York State has a funding need of approximately $80 billion for drinking water and sewage infrastructure over the next 20 years.
  • Climate Change Programs, which reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants and other sources, adapt and build resilience to the already unavoidable effects of climate change, conduct scientific research that helps inform sound climate policies and actions, and more. New York’s coastal communities are on the front lines in the fight against climate change, and are very at risk to the impacts of severe storms and rising sea levels.
  • The Superfund Program, which cleans up hazardous waste sites, helps ensure that responsible parties are held liable for the costs of cleanups whenever possible, responds to emergencies at superfund sites, and conducts cleanups at federal facilities. There are still 85 active superfund sites located across New York State.While EPA programs have made significant progress in protecting and restoring our land, air, and water resources, much more work remains. We respectfully urge you to not only fend off proposed cuts to EPA, but look for opportunities to increase funding for key EPA programs that have traditionally been underfunded. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

William C. Janeway, Executive Director, Adirondack Council
Nate Drag, Water Project Manager, New York, Alliance for the Great Lakes
Erin Crotty, Executive Director, Audubon New York
Loren Smith, Executive Director, Buffalo Audubon Society
Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director & Riverkeeper, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Carol DiPaolo, Programs Director and Water-Monitoring Coordinator, Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor
Arthur H. Kopelman, Ph. D., President, Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI)
Brandy Neveldine, NY Regional Biologist, Ducks Unlimited
Peter M. Iwanowicz, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates of NY
Marcia Bystryn, President, New York League of Conservation Voters
Sam Magavern, Executive Director, Partnership for the Public Good
Lee Willbanks, Riverkeeper / Executive Director, Save The River / Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper
Rob Weltner, PresidentOperation SPLASH
Paul Gallay, President, Riverkeeper
Pamela Hughes, Chair, Sierra Club Niagara Group
Lynda Schneekloth, Advocacy Chair, Western New York Environmental Alliance
Charley Bowman, WNY Drilling Defense & Environmental Task Force WNY Peace Center

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