Gulf Restoration Groups to Congressional Leaders: Scott Pruitt’s EPA Cuts are a Nightmare for Coastal Communities
Pruitt to testify Thursday before House Appropriations Panel on EPA’s budget proposal, which seeks to cut roughly one third of the EPA’s programmatic spending
Emily Guidry Schatzel
New Orleans, LA – Today, U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt appears before the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee. Pruitt will face questions on the proposed EPA budget, which will cut the agency’s spending by roughly 30 percent. National and local organizations working on Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River Delta restoration – Environmental Defense Fund, the National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, Ocean Conservancy, and The Nature Conservancy – released the following statement about the hearing:
“Cutting EPA programs that are restoring the Gulf environment is a direct threat to the businesses, communities and families who call the region home.
“We call on the Gulf delegation -- including leaders who have lived through storms like Katrina, Matthew, Gustav and Ike -- to stand up for coastal communities.
“Time and again, Congressional leaders have made promises to the people of the Gulf that restoration is a priority. These budget cuts threaten the progress that is being made. We urge Congress to reject these cuts and to continue their support for Gulf restoration.”
The proposed budget would cut funding to regionally-based programs such as the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, the EPA National Estuary Program and the EPA Lake Pontchartrain Restoration Program.
The EPA Gulf of Mexico program encompasses nearly 5 million acres, and has helped shape the natural heritage, culture and economy of the five Gulf states by addressing key issues like wildlife habitat, clean air and clean water in the region.
The National Estuary Program (NEP), created by Congress with bipartisan support in 1987, has a long record of success through collaboration among federal, state and local agencies. There are seven National Estuary Program sites in the Gulf of Mexico each of which addresses problems at critical locations for the health of the Gulf as a whole. The work of the NEP is consistent with and reinforces the direction for Gulf restoration agreed upon by the five Gulf states and federal natural resource agencies through the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Council. Loss of the NEP program would be a setback to Gulf of Mexico restoration. Funding for the National Estuary Program should not be cut from the EPA budget.