Editor: On Monday, March 11, the White House released an overview for the proposed 2020 fiscal year budget. The statement opens with a note from the President, boasting how much the economy has turned for the better since he was elected. According to this section, 5 million Americans have been lifted off food stamps, 5 million new jobs have been created, and unemployment rates among key minorities has reached “historic lows.” He credits this improvement to tax cuts and a cut in regulations, then goes on to explain how this new budget “builds on the tremendous progress we have made.”
While this budget outline requests cuts in many sectors, one department that is drastically impacted is the Environmental Protection Agency. It would see a $2.8 billion or 31 percent decrease in funding were this budget to pass as is. The statement emphasizes a push to place more regulatory responsibility on states and tribes, rather than continue sustained oversight from a national level, which has helped provide cleaner air and water for Americans.
As an ASU student and intern with climate advocacy group Defend Our Future, I believe this approach is nothing short of dangerous. The EPA’s main purpose is to protect our air, land, and water and ensure that free enterprise does not come at the cost of severe environmental degradation. In taking money away from this critical department, the administration is taking steps backward in their ability to do just that. Through this budget, Trump is clearly stating that our health and the health of our environment is not a priority, and it’s up to us to let our representatives know that we as Arizonans won’t stand for such blatant attack on our well-being.