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2017 Environmental Programs Budget Analysis

In June the Michigan legislature passed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. MEC and our partners at Michigan League of Conservation Voters commissioned a budget analysis of the combined impacts of proposed federal budget cuts outlined in President Trump’s budget and the state budget cuts being considered for environment protection programs and activities. We released our report during legislative budget negotiations, providing the first-ever analysis to review the impact of both state and federal budget decisions and how they will affect Michigan’s ability to protect our residents and environment. The combined impact of these cuts is enormous and, quite frankly, puts at risk our state’s ability to protect the Great Lakes, our water resources including drinking water, and the cleanup of contaminated sites across the state.

Trump’s budget proposal would cut the EPA’s budget by 31%, completely wipe out the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), and cut important programs that help our state protect the quality of our air, land, water and public health. The potential elimination of the GLRI funding would halt the cleanup at seven sites in Michigan which are on their way to being cleaned up and removed from the Great Lakes Areas of Concern list by 2019.

Trump’s proposed 30% cut to the Superfund program will slow or even stop cleanup work at contaminated sites in Michigan, allowing hazardous chemicals to leach into our water, cover our land, and disperse into our air. The president is proposing a 24% cut to environmental enforcement activities, harming the EPA’s ability to protect our health, reduce pollution, and go after polluters, placing good companies at a disadvantage. If these weren’t enough, he has proposed a 48% cut to the EPA’s research and development program. This will stymie advances in scientific discovery and technology that help to solve environmental challenges affecting our health and economy.

In 2016, the Michigan DEQ received $139 million from the federal government, with the lion’s share going to grants to local communities. The rest is used to fund 200 DEQ employees who implement state programs to protect our air, land and water. Any federal cut to environmental protection programs will almost certainly impact these DEQ employees who we count on to protect our health and environment.

Additionally, the state budget has failed to find a replacement for the expiring Clean Michigan Initiative bond revenue used to remediate and redevelop contaminated sites around the state. By the end of September, the last of the dollars from this 1998 voter-approved bond will be completely gone. So far, no replacement funds have been identified or approved by the legislature. Without funding, cleanup efforts at contaminated sites across the state will stop. Contamination left in the ground will continue to threaten our communities and endanger our drinking water.

Download a copy of the report,
 2017 Environmental Programs Budget Analysis

-Chris Kolb
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