May 17, 2017

Environmental Groups Protest Proposed EPA Cuts

The abandoned Williamson Polishing & Plating facility, in downtown Indianapolis, is going through a nearly $2 million cleanup from the EPA to get rid of toxic waste. Environmental groups say hundreds of similar sites across the state could remain untouched if funding is lost. (Photo by Drew Daudelin)

Environmental group leaders spoke Tuesday to protest the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to EPA funding.

The Trump administration proposes reducing EPA funding in fiscal year 2018 by 31 percent – the largest proposed cut of any Cabinet departments or major agency.

Indra Frank, a policy director at the Hoosier Environmental Council, spoke in front of the Williamson industrial site in downtown Indianapolis. The building was abandoned one year ago, full of leftover toxic waste.

Frank says state agencies could not afford to clean the site. But she says the EPA quickly began emergency waste removal, and can cover the cost – an estimated $1.8 million.

"It’s just an example of how EPA dollars are beneficial to the community, and we don’t always see exactly how that’s going about," Frank says. "There are hundreds of sites across Indiana that need cleanup."

Frank says the proposed budget would cut emergency cleanups like this one by 17 percent.

The Trump administration says the cuts are necessary, "to ease the burden of unnecessary Federal regulations that impose significant costs for workers and consumers without justifiable environmental benefits."

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