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WASHINGTON – The Trump administration’s cruel and backward budget sets progress on protecting our environment back 50 years and endangers the health of people and the planet.

The president’s proposed budget cuts $330 million from the Hazardous Substance Superfund – the program that cleans up our most toxic sites – and jeopardizes cleanup efforts.

“Without adequate resources, innocent people, children, will continue to be exposed to toxic chemicals, made sick or even die,” said Lois Gibbs, founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, a project of People’s Action Institute.

Gibbs is the “Mother of Superfund,” a mom with four children who blew the whistle at Love Canal 40 years ago when she discovered her neighborhood and children’s school was built on a leaking, toxic garbage dump.

Her efforts also led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‘s Superfund, which is used to locate and clean up toxic waste sites throughout the United States.

Gibbs is blowing the whistle on Trump’s dangerous budget. The administration plan slashes the the Superfund program by one-third, and reduces the budget for enforcement by 40 percent.

“That means polluters will not be held accountable, and we will lose robust legal actions necessary to recoup money for cleanup,” said Gibbs. The result will be out-of-court settlements worth only a fraction of the real clean up bill.

“Corporate polluters will get away with poisoning our children,” said Gibbs.

“If EPA chief Scott Pruitt really wants to create a new proactive approach to getting Superfund sites cleaned up he’ll strongly oppose the Environmental Protection Agency cuts,” said Gibbs. “He’ll push President Trump to reinstate the Polluter Pays Fees that expired in 1995. Those fees provided a robust budget that didn’t rely on taxpayers, polluters or the whims of whoever was in the White House.”

Other dangerously backward moves in the Trump environment budget include:

• Cutting $30 million from clean air funding – more than 25 percent of the clean air budget.

• Opening the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for drilling, endangering key wildlife and creating dangerous increases in fossil fuel drilling.

• Slashing programs for reviewing and preventing toxic risks, including the programs for endocrine disruptors, pollution prevention and the lead risk reduction program,

• Increasing funding for nuclear programs while slashing funding for radioactive waste disposal, and cutting new energy research programs.

• Eliminating the USDA’s Rural Economic Development Grant program, which helps rural electric utilities create jobs in rural areas.

• Cutting science and technology funding at the EPA by nearly 40 percent ($282 million), primarily funding into research on climate change.

People’s Action Institute has compiled a chart comparing the Trump budget to our vision for a nation that meets everyone’s basic needs, regardless of their age, ability, financial or immigration status.

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People’s Action Institute is a national organization of more than a million people across 29 states working for economic, racial, gender and climate justice – with a goal of reversing the growing economic inequality by building an economy that expands opportunity for low-income families.

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About People’s Action

People’s Action is a national network of 38 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, we completed a national forum series that The Nation called “the most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.”