— from Joel Connelly, SeattlePI.com Staff —
A draft Trump administration plan, proposing deep cuts in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would slash the EPA’s budget for Puget Sound cleanup by an astounding 93 percent.
During the current fiscal year, the EPA will have spent $28 million on restoration and monitoring of the Sound. The money has been spread among local governments, Native American tribes and nonprofits.
The spending has been driven by a longtime bipartisan goal on putting Puget Sound at the same priority cleanup level as Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, the the Great Lakes.
The Trump EPA proposal would cut that spending to $2 million.
It is part of an overall plan to cut programs and reduce EPA spending from $8.24 billion this fiscal year, to $6.16 in the next fiscal year. A newly released draft plan would also ax 17 percent from the current budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“On the heels of a speech in which President Trump committed to working for clean water and good jobs, this proposal would devastate efforts to restore shellfish beds, revitalize salmon runs and recover the Sound for future generations,” said U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., whose district includes Hood Canal and the Olympic Peninsula.
U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., from a south Sound district, stressed potential costs that would accrue from losing money and seeing programs eliminated.
“When the federal government fails to invest in the health of critically important bodies of water like our Puget Sound, environmental problems become environmental disasters,” Heck said.
SOURCE: KOMO4 News Click to read entire article.