Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa P. Jackson testified before Congress on March 3. In an official statement, she said that while she supported President Barack Obama’s proposed 2011 budget cuts to the agency, they went beyond redundancies and into “difficult, even painful, choices.” The president’s budget will cut EPA funding by 13 percent, according to Jackson.
Jackson told the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies that the deeper cuts proposed by the Republicans would make the EPA “unable to implement or enforce the laws that protect Americans’ health, livelihoods, and pastimes.”
She summarized the programs that Obama’s proposed budget would fund. Restoration of the Great Lakes, money for states to ensure they provide clean drinking water to residents, and pilot projects “to evaluate and reduce risks from toxic air pollution through regulatory, enforcement, and voluntary efforts” were among the ones she named.
If Congress slashes funding for environmental protection, then “concentrations of harmful pollution would increase from current levels in the places Americans live, work, go to school, fish, hike, and hunt,” Jackson said.
“The result would be more asthma attacks, more missed school and work days, more heart attacks, more cancer cases, more premature deaths, and more polluted waters,” she added.
Jackson reminded Congress that it created the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act on a broadly bipartisan basis and said that she was grateful for that. “It [Congress] did so to protect American children and adults from pollution that otherwise would make their lives shorter, less healthy, and less prosperous,” she noted.
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) proposed to cut more than $1.6 billion from the EPA’s budget, according to C-Span. His proposed cuts are more than double those of the president. If they are adopted, they would reduce funding for programs pertaining to clean air, drinking water, energy conservation, and renewable energy.