For Immediate Release: May 02, 2019
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337
EPA’s Hypocritical Drinking Water Proposal
Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Nation’s Drinking Water Quality
Washington, DC – EPA Administrator Wheeler has identified drinking water protection as a top priority. However, the Administration is proposing massive cuts to EPA’s drinking water program that would create a national drinking water crisis.
On April 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of nearly $87 million in grant funding to assist states, tribes, and territories with improving drinking water. In announcing these grants, Administrator Wheeler stated, “EPA is committed to ensuring all Americans, regardless of their zip code, have access to safe and clean drinking water.”
Yet, funding for these and other programs designed to protect the safety of the nation’s drinking water programs will be drastically cut under the Administration’s 2020 budget proposals. “If this is EPA’s top priority,” said Tim Whitehouse, PEER’s executive director, “then Administrator Wheeler should come clean about the need to maintain adequate funding levels.”
According to a PEER analysis of the Administration’s 2020 budget, EPA’s core Safe Drinking Water program would be cut 8 percent, while state assistance to support clean drinking water would be cut 33 percent.
The Administration’s proposal includes:
- $38 million (33%) cuts in categorical grants to support state drinking water programs;
- $300 million (26%) cuts to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund;
- $67 million (84%) cuts to other programs that support drinking water protection, including:
- Elimination of a $10 million program to address lead in drinking water, a $20 million program for Safe Water for Small and Disadvantaged Communities, and a cut in funding for Lead Testing in Schools from $20 million to $10 million.
- Elimination of a $10 million program that supports water infrastructure in the US-Mexico border region, and cuts from $20 million to $3 million for a similar program for Alaska Native Villages.
“Many communities throughout the United States are already experiencing drinking water quality problems,” said Whitehouse. “These proposed cuts would result in a full-blown, national crisis.”