Concerns Raised Over Proposed Cuts to EPA Funds for Puget Sound

A Washington state congressman is raising concerns over proposed cuts to Environmental Protection Agency funding for Puget Sound.

“These cuts would decimate EPA-backed Puget Sound restoration and leave NOAA without the necessary resources to fight climate change and support Pacific Northwest Fisheries,” says Rep. Rick Larsen, D-WA. Larsen vowed this week to “oppose these slash and burn cuts and continue fighting for a healthy, clean and protected environment.”

Larsen noted that in addition to reducing resources for Puget Sound from $28 million in fiscal 2016 to $2 million in fiscal 2018 that the Trump administration is reportedly seeking to cut a quarter of the EPA’s total budget, eliminating 3,000 positions and impacting programs aimed at reversing climate change, and protecting clean air and water.

The fiscal 2018 budget for the EPA and other federal agencies is still a long way from decided.

Larsen’s office was not immediately available for further comment, but a spokesman for Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said House and Senate appropriators are currently working with their colleagues to outline priorities and topline figures to fund these federal agencies. “There is significant work to be done, including a number of major reforms and policy provisions to roll back many of the previous administration’s destructive rules and regulations,” said Young aide Matt Shuckerow.

Larsen and Young are co-chairs of the 21-member Congressional Arctic Working Group, whose goal is to help Congress better understand the opportunities and challenges of the US as an Arctic nation.