How Trump’s Budget Drains Drinking Water Protections

Trump’s recently proposed budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets lofty goals to “ensure that all Americans are protected from exposure to hazardous environmental risks where they live, learn, work, and enjoy their lives.”

But just saying it doesn’t make it so.

Compare the facts around drinking water to the response from the Administration.

Fact: Almost 77 million Americans are served by a drinking water system that has violated at least one drinking water rule. More than 18 million Americans are served by a drinking water system with at least one violation of the Lead and Copper Rule. And despite the documented, severe lead problems in Flint, Michigan, the city had no reported violations of the Lead and Copper Rule, which underscore the rule’s weaknesses. EPA needs to revise and strengthen the Lead and Copper Rule and other drinking water rules. EPA also needs new rules for unregulated contaminants.

Trump response: Cut $16 million from the drinking water program.

Fact: More than 70 percent of drinking water violations occur in systems that serve fewer than 500 people. These systems are mainly found in rural and sparsely populated areas. Technical and financial assistance would help these systems provide clean water to their communities.

Trump response: Eliminate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $511 million Rural Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Program. Trump has said that rural Americans can turn to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) instead for funding to improve their drinking water systems. But rather than increase the SRF by $511 million to absorb this additional need, he only increases it by a paltry $1.6 million.

Fact: In 2015, there were more than 80,000 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act in more than 18,000 communities across the country. The state or EPA took formal enforcement against only 13 percent of these violations.

Trump response: Cut EPA civil and criminal enforcement budget by more than…

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