This spring the federal government must decide on a budget. Setting a family budget requires making choices about where to spend and where to save. A normal approach is to invest in a healthy, safe home and trim away extraneous spending.

Unfortunately, the president proposes the opposite-slashing funds for clean air and water in favor of international saber rattling.

Idaho deserves better.

We All Need Clean Air and Clean Water

Regardless of your political stripes, we all need clean air to breathe. Everyone needs clean water, be it for drinking or growing crops. We all know that by leaving a place just a little cleaner than we found it, our kids will have the opportunity to thrive. Providing a safe and healthy home, while keeping an eye on the future, is not partisan or political, it is honorable.

Instead of acting as a responsible leader, the president proposes to slash the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency. Since its creation by President Nixon in the 1970s, the EPA has established standards for clean air, provided billions of dollars to help states manage polluters, and performed essential research to identify future needs. EPA actions to ensure clean air have saved lives-the Clean Air Act alone saved 160,000 lives last year, and by 2020 that number is expected to reach 230,000. So thanks to safeguards established by EPA, Idahoans now live longer while our economy continues to grow.

According to Christine Todd Whitman, these "unprecedented budget cuts to the EPA would pose a great danger to American’s lives if enacted." And Ms. Whitman would know as she directed the EPA under former President George W Bush. Again, it is not political to protect human health or ensure a safe environment. Honorable leaders stand up for their citizens.

So Where Are Idaho’s Leaders?

Slashing the EPA could directly harm Idaho by eliminating the majority of funding for our state Department of Environmental Quality.

Now ICL sometimes disagrees with DEQ, but we know that working together we can solve Idaho’s problems. Eliminating the agency does nothing to ensure we get the clean air and water Idaho deserves.

It is time for Idaho’s leaders to lead. Ask them to stand up for the clean air and water we deserve.