Environmental groups, New York activists voice concerns about proposed cuts to the EPA

Environmental groups, New York activists voice concerns about proposed cuts to the EPA

For pictures of today’s event please click here

NEW YORK, NY – Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch, Environmental Advocates of New York and other allies, along with New York activists and parents gathered outside of Senator Chuck Schumer’s Manhattan office today to protest proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency. The groups delivered letters urging Senator Schumer to publicly commit to stopping a vote on a year-end spending bill if it includes any cuts to the EPA. Government funding is set to expire one week from today. The event was part of a nation-wide day of action in support of the EPA.

“Congress and this administration are focused on lining their pockets with money and giving fossil fuel companies a free pass to profit off the suffering of our country’s most vulnerable communities,” said Friends of the Earth regional organizer and New Yorker Jenny Bock. “Senator Schumer must make the right choice and commit to filibuster any spending bill that puts the interests of corporations over the environment. New Yorkers are watching to see how the Senator will act, and we will not let up the pressure to ensure he does the right thing for people and the planet.”

The Trump Administration sent a budget to Congress calling for a staggering 31 percent cut to the EPA, while Republicans in the House and Senate have written similarly extreme spending bills calling for EPA cuts of nine percent and two percent, respectively. All of these plans would guarantee deep cuts to our environmental protections and other core social programs while giving a free pass to corporate polluters. Friends of the Earth is calling on Senators to commit to filibustering any spending bill that includes budget cuts to the EPA.

“I am old enough to remember what it was like before the EPA was established 46 years ago, when Manhattan was dumping 150 million gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson River every day,” said Friends of the Earth volunteer and mother Cathy McConnell who lives on Long Island. “Thanks to the EPA enforcing the Clean Water Act, now the Hudson has been restored to the point where sturgeon can actually swim up the river to breed. The EPA has cleaned up hundreds of toxic Superfund sites — many right here in the New York area. For the sake of our water, air, and climate, we can’t afford to go back to a time without the EPA.”

Over 66,000 people from around the country have called on Congress to stop the proposed cuts to the EPA’s budget, including 14,000 New Yorkers. As the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Schumer has the power and responsibility to deploy the filibuster to stop the Trump administration and Republicans’ attacks on people and our environment.

“Make no mistake: If the Republican cuts to the EPA are approved, people will suffer and people will die,” said David Ambrosio, a New York-based volunteer with Food & Water Watch. “It is up to Senator Schumer to lead the Democrats in opposition to this unconscionable Republican assault on public health.”

In the spirit of the season people delivered holiday-themed thank you cards and sang holiday carols with lyrics about the threats to our environment. At the rally, parents and New York residents spoke about how they’re worried about what the proposed cuts would mean for their children’s health and the future of our climate.

“Congress and this administration are the real ‘Grinches’ when it comes to protecting our air and water,” said Friends of the Earth activist and mother Lisette Brahman. “They want to slash funding for environmental protections and give handouts to corporate polluters. But Senator Schumer has the power to stop this, and we need him to filibuster any spending bill that includes cuts to the EPA. My daughter’s health depends it — all future generations depend on it. We simply cannot allow the EPA to be decimated.”

“It is never a good time to weaken environmental protections, yet that’s exactly what we’re seeing out of Washington,” Peter M. Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York. “The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the EPA would be disastrous to all New Yorkers and the nation. We call on all New York representatives to follow Senator Schumer’s lead in fully rejecting these dangerous cuts and the pro-polluter policies that Trump and his collaborators in Congress are trying to achieve.”

On-the-ground contacts: Jenny Bock (Friends of the Earth), [email protected], (646) 258-6998; Eric Weltman (Food and Water Watch), [email protected], (617) 304-5330
Communications contact: Erin Jensen, (202) 222-0722, [email protected]