Back in 2014, a town in Ohio found a green substance in their water supply, rendering the drinking water for nearly half a million residents unsafe. Toledo’s environmental agency sent samples of the water to the E.P.A. lab in Cincinnati and they found that the water contained microcystin, a rare but toxic substance that is produced by algae blooms in water and causes liver damage in humans. The funding that allowed the E.P.A. to respond to the situation is now being threatened by Trump’s 2018 fiscal year budget. With the E.P.A. receiving a 31% cut, larger than any other agency, problems like these will have no way to be solved. Many environmental problems that need help from the E.P.A. will no longer be funded, such as oil and chemical spills to name a couple. Trump’s new budget would cut the E.P.A. from a current budget of $8.1 billion to $5.7 billion and cut 3,200 jobs from their current 15,000 employees.
Former E.P.A. officials say that in cases of responding to emergencies like the one that affected Toledo’s water supply, states often lack the resources and expertise to clean up these problems, and without the help from E.P.A. they would not be able to. Mr. Butler, the director of Ohio’s environmental agency, said, “I’m a huge fan of cooperative federalism… This process of reviewing the federal budget and removing programs that are duplicative is completely appropriate.” But he added, “Where that message conflicts with the president’s budget is where they say, ‘Hey, states, we want you to do this work, but we’re going to cut your budget to do it.’”
Trump wants to cut E.P.A. funding and have states do their own environmental work, but is making it impossible because most of the funding for states’ environmental agencies comes from the E.P.A.