Ken Kimmel: “Skinny Budget” Disregards Science, Placing Communities at Risk

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017—President Trump released his proposed “skinny budget” today. Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of UCS. Kimmell is also the former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative board chair.

President Trump’s budget doubles down on antiquated ideas and misguided science, which will hurt our economy, kill jobs, make us less safe and widen the equity gap, all to pay for military budget increases we don’t need.

Inhumanely cutting EPA’s budget by nearly one-third will assure that communities, especially low-income ones, will be at higher risks of exposure to toxics and pollutants that damage health and the environment.

Big cuts to budgets at FEMA, NOAA and NASA, including key satellite programs, will undermine our nation’s ability to forecast weather, prepare for and recover from disasters, and safeguard national security. These cuts will also limit our ability to monitor the impacts of ever-worsening global climate change. Such misguided changes will put the safety of Americans at risk, while costing taxpayers more in disaster assistance over the long haul.

This budget also gives more funds to DOE’s nuclear weapons programs while gutting its clean energy and efficiency programs, including federal support for clean energy innovation, by eliminating ARPA-E and putting a stranglehold on the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy. Investments in energy efficiency programs over the last 25 years have saved consumers money and avoided the need for the equivalent of more than 300 additional large power plants.

As the former head of a state environmental protection agency, I know that state governmental agencies are in no position to take on the work of these federal agencies, including safeguarding our air and water, particularly when the funds to states for these efforts have also been cut so drastically. Americans value investments in science, research and innovation, a sentiment this budget grossly ignores.

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.