New York, NY-- After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recently pummeled our coasts, Environment New York warned that pending budget proposals from the Trump administration and Congress threaten key programs that protect our communities from storm- related impacts. The group documented threats to programs that prevent or curb flooding, sewage overflows and leaks from toxic waste sites. Environment New York also called for preventing more global warming-fueled extreme weather in the future.
“If there is any lesson to be learned from these devastating hurricanes, it’s that New York deserves better shelter from the storms,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “Rather than protecting our most vulnerable communities, budget proposals on the table in Washington, D.C. right now threaten coastal resiliency, remove protections for flood-absorbing wetlands, neglect funding for stormwater and sewage treatment, and expose more Americans to toxic chemicals,” Leibowitz added.
Environment New York’s analysis found:
One in four Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, the most toxic waste sites in the country. New York has 119 such sites, and the Superfund program is tasked with cleaning up these sites, responding to environmental crises, and protecting the public from hazardous substances, but the Trump administration has proposed cutting the Superfund program by nearly one-third.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provided $147.5 million in 2016 for New York to repair and build stormwater and sewage treatment infrastructure. Nationwide, our wastewater systems face a $271 billion backlog, yet the House and President’s spending bills fail to provide proper funding to this critical program.
Wetlands are nature’s flood control, and here in New York we have 183,000 acres of wetlands. The House budget and Trump administration block the Clean Water Rule, leaving flood-absorbing wetlands more vulnerable to pollution and degradation.
“We need to make our communities less susceptible to flooding, sewage overflows, and leaks from toxic waste sites, and of course we need to prevent even more intense global warming-fueled extreme weather in the future. We’re counting on Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to protect New Yorkers and pass a budget that puts our families’ health and community's safety first, one that will give New Yorkers more shelter from the storms ahead,” Leibowitz concluded.