Representatives from MEP member group Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness were in Washington D.C. Feb. 14 and delivered our Valentines dedicated to the EPA to Congresswoman Betty McCollum (MN-04).
On Feb. 16, Congresswoman McCollum referred to the Valentines when she spoke against budget cuts to environmental protection programs on the U.S. House Floor:
“I rise today to let the American people and all Minnesotans know that this Continuing Resolution is an unprecedented assault on our public health and environment. We know the federal budget is in crisis and we know we must make tough choices.
“But those choices must be prudent, wise and invest in our future. It should not put the basic health of Americans at risk.
“The Republicans’ plan before us proposes to cut $3 billion from the EPA’s budget, the largest percentage cut to this critical agency in 30 years.
“The bill also proposes radical policy language to keep the EPA from carrying out its historic mission — a mission to protect the health of the American people by limiting the EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Air and Clean Water Act.
“The EPA needs to be allowed to do its job and it needs the resources to do this job. This bill would cause the EPA to lay off 80 percent of its employees who are responsible for protecting public health.
“State clean water programs are gutted by $2 billion in the Republicans’ budget. Our local communities are struggling with their own budgets, and these vital funds allow for communities to hire engineers and construction workers to upgrade water plant and drinking water projects.
“It is the EPA’s investment in clean water that allows parents to know that if their child walks up to a drinking fountain anywhere in america, they can have the peace of mind that that water is safe for their child to drink. These irresponsible cuts jeopardize that peace of mind.
“The EPA does important work and the work that the EPA does saves lives. Istrongly oppose these reckless Republican cuts and radical deregulation proposals that endanger our communities.
“Congress needs to make difficult choices. Mr. Chair, i believe that these are full, hearty choices to shortchange clean air, clean water and the health of our families.
“Yesterday I received over a thousand Valentines from Minnesotans. Those Valentines were dedicated to the EPA. My constituents understand the important work that the EPA has done to protect our water, our land and their health for the past 40 years and it’s work that they feel must continue.
“This Continuing Resolution would turn back all the progress we have made in cleaning up our environment. I firmly reject it and urge my colleagues to do so as well.”