The Trump Administration’s proposed slashing of funding for EPA is a good test of public sentiment. It’s been pretty clear for a while that environmental issues determine very few votes for President or Congress, but polls also show that large majorities of the American support policies that protect clean air and water. Given all the other astonishing proposals in the Trump budget — like zeroing out of Meals and Wheels (taking food and company from Grandma!) — how much attention will EPA get and how will it fare in Congressional budget decisions?
Stepping back from my environmental perspective, I’ve been watching the generalized media coverage. With the exception of the proposed elimination of funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the headlines feature “EPA cuts.” And the question is how agitated the public can be about even a staggering loss (3200) of agency staff.
These cuts need to be explained as affecting health and quality of life — especially water — to be reversed. And much as environmental groups need resources to carry on the fight, their action emails would do better if they didn’t contain heavy-handed pitches for donations out of the gate — unless a clear plan, including a communications plan, is include.