On Tuesday morning, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote in favor of a bill cutting the EPA's budget by 7 percent. The Environmental Defense Fund and its partner advocacy organization, EDF Action, are denouncing the move.
The EDF says that, in Florida, this would mean scaling back programs that monitor air quality and fecal pollution on beaches, as well as providing help for kids with elevated lead levels in their blood streams.
"The estuary program down and around the Florida Keys has had a lot of work that's been going into it," said Heather McTeer Toney, former EPA administrator for the region that includes Florida. "Our fear is that it's going to be greatly impacted by these new numbers."
The budget adjustment would also mean personnel cuts. "Hollowing out EPA by throwing away decades of expertise is like paying for fire hydrants without the firefighters," said Elgie Hastings, senior director of EDF Action. "So we're arguing that full funding...is needed to keep the environment from moving back to the 1980's."
The Trump administration has said that the saved money would be put towards a $54 billion increase in the country's defense spending. On Monday, EDF Action launched a million-dollar ad campaign asking Congress to preserve the EPA budget.