Local Groups Call on Congress to Restore EPA Budget

The Buffalo on the Cuyahoga River near Merwin's Wharf [Annie Wu / ideastream]
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Local environmental groups and politicians gathered at Merwin’s Wharf in the Flats Wednesday to urge Congress not to cut the EPA budget.  On the edge of the Cuyahoga River, Kirk Lang with the Cleveland Rowing Foundation listed some of the activities now happening on the river because of EPA cleanup efforts.

“We are now hosting youth programs in the summer.  We have kayakers, we have paddle boarders, we have dragon boats along the river,” said Lang.  “None of this was possible in years past.  Without the EPA, the continued cleanup of the Cuyahoga River would not be possible.”

Cleveland’s Chief of Sustainability, Matt Gray, said the EPA is needed to address new threats to the river and Lake Erie including algal blooms, plastic pollution, and climate change .

“So over the last half century, in Cleveland alone, we’ve seen temperatures on average increase by more than 2 degrees.  Lake Erie freezes on average 20 fewer days per year. And we have 22 percent more rain than we did half a century ago.  And that rain is coming down in heavier doses.  All of this makes it harder for us to clean our water.  And all of this makes action on clean water more important than ever.”

On Capitol Hill, the House cut $528 million from the EPA’s budget – a six and a half percent reduction.  President Trump had sought a 31 percent cut.  The Senate could begin marking up the appropriations bill as early as next week.

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