President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget have some people on edge, especially in Florida. People associated with the Environmental Defense Fund or EDF aired grievances Tuesday morning. The proposed budget goes into effect Oct. 1, but people from the EDF say now is the time to act.
Mayors from Florida cities, a wetland ecologist and a former EPA regional manager held a phoned news conference with the Environmental Defense Fund—a nonprofit environmental advocacy group.
They voiced concerns about President Trump’s proposed cuts to the EPA, which could total $983 million.
Former Administrator of the EPA’s southeastern region Heather Toney said the proposed budget is an “attack” on the environmental progress Florida has made.
“Florida has been the one that has invested so much into their environmental stability," said Toney. "And to see this budget and the cuts that are proposed—it is devastating and we are a critical mass level.”
Toney said the newly proposed budget cuts will eliminate department jobs along with jobs that depend on tourism.
Monroe County mayor George Neugent said tourism needs to be preserved for the sake of his constituency in the Florida Keys.
“Per capita, we generate more sales tax dollars for the state of Florida than any other county in the state," said Neugent. "That is how dependent we are upon the tourist economy.”
Naples Vice Mayor Linda Penniman said her city depends upon the EPA for flood prevention and water quality.
“Naples Bay is the nexus of marine and recreational activity for Naples, Florida," said Penniman. "Once again, Naples Bay received a B rating by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.”
A grade she calls “poor”. Penniman said some of the grants that would be cut under Trump’s budget would prevent Naples Bay from improvements that would give it an A rating.
Village of Key Biscayne Mayor Mayra Lindsay said maintaining funding for the EPA should not be a partisan issue. After all, she said, one of Key Biscayne’s former residents and most polarizing figures started the EPA—Richard Nixon. Lindsay said funding the EPA goes beyond the environment.
“It goes to safety and quality of life," said Lindsay
The folks at the Environmental Defense Fund saidy the clock is ticking to raise the alarm—to notify lawmakers that President Trump’s proposed cuts will not benefit Florida’s environment or other environments around the country.