Reality Check: Annotated EPA Press Release Shows How Trump/Pruitt Are Touting the Same EPA Disaster Relief Programs They’re Trying to Cut

Six Questions Floridians Should Ask as President Trump Visits Florida:

Why Weaken Environmental Safeguards?

As President Trump prepares to visit Florida reeling from Hurricane Irma, Environmental Defense Fund released two new resources: an annotated edition of a government press release, and a list of questions Floridians deserve to have answered.

Together, they highlight how Administration policies undercut safeguards designed to protect Americans during natural disasters—and how political leaders are touting the agency’s hard work on the ground, even as Administrator Pruitt and politicians take EPA’s budget to the chopping block.

Pop-Up Press Release: EDF released a 1990s-style “Pop-Up Reality Check Press Release” (at https://www.edf.org/sites/default/files/content/epa_irma_reality_check.pdf) annotating a September 12 EPA press release about the Agency’s efforts during Hurricane Irma.  It shows how President Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt are undercutting critical work that the EPA is trying to do right now to protect Floridians, residents of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Southeast states from environmental hazards, particularly during natural disasters.

Questions, Please: “Six Questions for President Trump and EPA Administrator Pruitt,” seeks to clarify Trump Administration policies on the EPA and climate change that threaten Americans struggling to keep their families safe from environmental threats.  (This month Congress has been considering the Administration’s push to cut the EPA budget by a dramatic 30 percent, to its lowest level since the 1970s.)

  1. How can you showcase the importance of the EPA’s work after Irma to protect people from hazardous pollution while aiming to slash the EPA an unprecedented 30 percent?
  2. Before Irma arrived, the EPA assessed 90 Florida Superfund sites.  Why do you propose cutting Superfund Emergency Response programs by 18%, and Superfund by 30%?
  3. The EPA has been helping Florida communities prepare for possible leaks of oil and other hazardous materials, and Florida has more leaking underground tanks than any other state in the nation. Why does your budget propose a 15% cut to EPA oil spill hazard programs and a 48% cut to underground tank programs?
  4. The EPA is helping repair waste water facilities that keep raw sewage out of people’s drinking water.  Why do you want to cut the EPA some water grants by 30% and eliminate others altogether?
  5. Just before Hurricane Harvey triggered extreme flooding in Houston, your administration withdrew guidelines for building safer in areas prone to flooding. Will you restore those guidelines after what’s happened in Texas and Florida?
  6. Your administration is holding up a major scientific report on climate change. Can you promise it will be released, as written by the scientists, without political editing or interference?

Be sure to check out EDF’s Special “Pop-Up Reality Check Press Release” (at https://www.edf.org/sites/default/files/content/epa_irma_reality_check.pdf) annotating a September 12 EPA press release about the Agency’s efforts during Hurricane Irma.

EDF experts are available to provide further context and comment; please contact Keith Gaby, Kgaby@edf.org at 202-572-3336.