Local environmental experts believe President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency could have devastating effects on the Ocean State.
Trump is requesting to cut the EPA's budget by nearly a third. The EPA would get $5.655 billion in funding for fiscal 2018, which is about $2.6 billion less than fiscal 2017. Nearly 50 EPA-run programs are also at risk of being eliminated.
Timmons Roberts, environmental studies professor at Brown University, said if the budget is passed, Rhode Island won’t be able to avoid the negative effects of climate change.
“(Climate change is causing) sea level rise, which is affecting Rhode Island’s 400 miles of coastline, and making our weather less predictable and causing some major storms to be more intense, like hurricanes and so on, that are quite threatening to the state’s future, our economy and our quality of life," Roberts said.
Janet Coit, director of Rhode Island's Department of Environmental Management, said in a statement that budget cuts to the EPA would be detrimental to the DEM because nearly 30 percent of its funding comes from the federal government.
"The proposed federal cuts would have a devastating impact on our environmental protection programs, diminishing our work to improve water and air quality and slowing down the permitting process that is a prerequisite for economic development," Coit wrote.
Coit said the DEM is working closely with Gov. Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island's congressional delegation and others "to advocate for steady continued funding."