McKibben on Bill Maher: The Way Forward

March 6, 2017

Chicago Tribune:

With reports swirling that President Donald Trump intends sharp cutbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Detroit Free Press reports that a drastic reduction may be under consideration for Great Lakes restoration efforts, which in the past have received bipartisan support.

The National Association of Clean Air Agencies confirmed for the Free Press late Thursday that an initial proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million.

The Washington Post first reported this week that the White House was looking at cutting the EPA budget from $8.2 billion to $6.1 billion and reducing staffing by 3,000 employees as it looks to increase funding for the military and slash regulations.

If the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is targeted for such a drastic reduction — and it is by far the largest dollar cut on Davis’ partial list from the association’s data — it would decimate a program that has helped pay to restore wetlands and improve water quality across the Upper Midwest.

Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — Great Lakes states that backed Trump in the election last year — have all received funding under the initiative, which many lawmakers of both parties in the region have steadfastly supported even when other Republicans have moved to reduce it.

In Michigan, it has helped to pay for improved fish habitat and a pier at Detroit’s Belle Isle; altered channels and dredged river bottoms to remove mercury pollution; created artificial lakes for lake sturgeon and other fish species, and added thousands of acres of wetlands to protected areas as well as funding scores of other projects.

Jordan Lubetkin, a spokesman for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said that even with a long legislative process to follow when the Trump administration submits its final budget proposal to Congress, there are reasons to worry.

“From what we’re hearing these kinds of cuts to EPA programs and EPA staff are very concerning and very troubling,” he said. “The scale at which these cuts are being discussed would be devastating.”

Fox News:

Also targeted for steep spending rollbacks are the agency’s monitoring and enforcement of compliance with environmental laws, as well as regional projects intended to benefit degraded areas such as the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. A program dealing with San Francisco Bay that received $4.8 million last year would be eliminated, as would initiatives for reducing diesel emissions and beach water quality testing.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called the proposed budget “a fantasy” that ignores the EPA’s mission to protect public health.

“It shows the Trump administration doesn’t hold the same American values for clean air, clean water and healthy land as the vast majority of its citizens,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Our health comes before the special interests of multibillion-dollar industries.”



6 Responses to “McKibben on Bill Maher: The Way Forward”

  1. Doctor, I don’t need your satellites. I have the weather channel.

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    Only when the last tree has died, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.

  3. Lionel Smith Says:

    Having watched that McKibben/Maher I was prompted to link to it elsewhere with the following words ahead of the link:

    The global tragedy of the commons will ramp up to a new level as the corruption in the US evident from Trumps picks for his administration works its corrosive effect on the air you breath, water you drink and the food you need to eat. An administration which deliberately blinds itself to the problems by gutting the finances and Earth programmes of the EPA and NASA is not working in your interests. What is staggering is that they think that they will be exempt from the disasters that will, and are, unfolding. How can these selfish idiots, do that not have children and grandchildren, not know that it matters how rich in lucre you are you cannot obtain unpolluted sustenance if there is none.

    • webej Says:

      But this has nothing to do with the so-called Tragedy of the Commons. Privatizing the water and the land would not solve more problems than it creates.

      • Lionel Smith Says:

        But this has nothing to do with the so-called Tragedy of the Commons.

        Writes somebody who cannot think further than their own limit of knowledge and is totally wrong.

  4. webej Says:

    There is an international dimension to this. Canada and the USA first agreed in the early seventies to clean up the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence. Obviously both parties have to start upstream and work downstream for this to be effective. Reagan was the first president to back peddle on what was an international agreement. The goals agreed to in the seventies have never been reached, not even more than 40 years later, all because the economy is “temporarily” not strong enough. This is shameful behaviour and is of the many policy issues that harms confidence in the US as a reliable partner.

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