Environment New Jersey analyzed the FY 2018 budget proposed by President Trump in the spring of 2017 and the current House and Senate appropriations bills and their impact on programs that protect communities from storm-related impacts. Overall, the Trump administration proposes a 31% ($2.6 billion) budget decrease for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- the primary agency for protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink, and reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals. The administration’s proposal also specifically proposed eliminating or cutting important clean water, coastal protection and slashing toxic waste cleanup programs. To date, the House has also proposed steep but slightly smaller cuts to the EPA of $528 million. The House spending bills also include several harmful legislative “riders,” including one that targets the Clean Water Rule, which protects flood-absorbing wetlands. The House bill also cuts important coastal protection programs and initially slashed clean water grants to states.
Our children need safe drinking water – especially at their schools. Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country, including here in New Jersey. This “Back to School” toolkit is designed to help parents, teachers and school officials get the facts on lead in drinking water and make the case for strong local action to ensure safe drinking water at school.
The EPA has been essential to clean up and restore the Delaware River watersheds, and now that progress is in jeopardy. The Trump Administration has proposed deep and devastating cuts to the EPA’s budget. Even if the president’s proposed cuts are scaled back by Congress, they would still have profound negative impacts on the agency’s ability to deter pollution from industrial facilities, agriculture, sewage treatment plants, runoff and other sources, while undercutting efforts to restore iconic waterbodies such as the Delaware River. We can’t go back to the bad old days. We need a strong EPA with sufficient resources to support local cleanup efforts and partner with states and communities to protect and restore the Delaware River watershed.
In Bergen County, the state's most populous county which includes more than 70 school districts, Environment New Jersey was able to compile complete testing results from more than 3,300 drinking water outlets from 47 districts. The results, which are required to be accessible to the public, showed that 55% of the drinking water outlets in these schools showed some level of lead contamination.
Environment New Jersey Research and Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.