You may remember a couple of really important wins by the Idaho Conservation League to protect our air and water. We relied on safeguards created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect our values. Now we must return the favor and stand up for the EPA against proposed drastic budget cuts. Read more—or skip ahead to the end of this page to write a personal message directly to your congressional delegates.
Clean Air and Water Rules Safeguard Your Health
In the early 2000s, ICL discovered that airborne mercury was drifting from gold-processing facilities in northern Nevada, settling into our lakes and streams and making our fish too toxic to eat. Based on our discovery and follow-up, the EPA issued strong limits on the amount of toxic mercury pollution from gold mines and gold-processing facilities.
And early last year, ICL further protected Idaho’s water by ensuring that the EPA developed rules requiring certain companies—like mining companies—that handle toxic materials to secure bonds to cover any future cleanup. In essence, the polluting companies now have to clean up their own messes, not leave it to the taxpayers.
In both instances, ICL used these rules and programs to ensure that regulators put our clean water, our clean air and our public safety ahead of corporate profits.
Which Is More Important—Public Health or Corporate Profits?
Now the president wants to gut the EPA’s budget and decimate its staff—killing 3,200 federal EPA jobs and countless connected state jobs. This proposed budget clearly reflects the current administration’s values: the profits of corporate polluters are more important than the health of our communities and the quality of our air and drinking water.
The proposal would eliminate programs and funding that are essential to maintaining Idaho’s air, water, wildlife and quality of life. A huge portion of the EPA’s budget goes back to the states as grants to protect air and water quality while removing toxics from our environment. Another significant portion enforces important safeguards to ensure that the products we purchase are safe to eat and drink.
These budget cuts hobble the EPA’s ability to enforce the nation’s laws and safeguards that protect our climate, air, land and water, while making it easier for corporate polluters to boost their profits at the expense of our health and environment. Without these federal dollars and program, will Idaho step up its own enforcement of environmental laws? Doubtful.
Speak Up for the EPA in Idaho
EPA programs and grants directly benefit Idaho. Now is the time to tell your congressional delegation that Idahoans stand for clean air, clean water and safe communities. Here are some of the specific programs essential to Idaho:
- Low-income, undereducated or rural communities often face the worst pollution and have the least influence. The proposal slashes the environmental justice program by 78%. Tell Idaho’s delegation to protect this crucial voice for vulnerable Idahoans.
- Idaho’s Silver Valley is in the midst of a massive effort to clean up toxic lead waste that has polluted that community for decades. The proposal cuts nationwide funding for this Superfund program by 30%. Tell Idaho’s delegation to retain EPA grants that protect the health of Idaho communities.
- Diesel engine emissions are a leading air pollutant in Idaho. Plus inefficient trucks and farm equipment waste fuel and money. The proposal eliminates diesel emissions reductions grants that go to states. Tell Idaho’s delegation to make sure we continue to get federal funding to protect the air we breathe.
- The best way to reduce pollution is to conserve energy. The ENERGY STAR program sets energy use standards for products and appliances and has saved Americans over $430 billion by reducing energy bills. The proposal eliminates the long-running successful program. Tell Idaho’s delegation to protect consumers’ wallets and air from wasteful, unsafe products.
What Can You Do?
Although the administration proposes the budget, Congress sets it. Act now and write a personal email telling your senators and congressman to protect the EPA budget and ensure that Idaho continues to receive the grants and support necessary to protect our air, lands and water.
Write to your delegates now! We make it easy below: simply enter your zip code, after which a blank email form appears along with your senators and congressman. Then write a respectful email sharing the reasons why you believe that EPA funding should be protected from the administration’s drastic cuts.