After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recently pummeled our coasts, Environment Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island 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 Rhode Island deserves better shelter from the storms,” said Kelsey Lamp from Environment Rhode Island. “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."
Environment Rhode Island’s analysis found:
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provided $8.96 million in 2016 for Rhode Island 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.
Here in Rhode Island we receive $1.46 million in grants that allow our communities to protect their coasts from storms and rising seas. These funds would be cut or eliminated under both the House and Trump administration’s budgets.
One in four Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, the most toxic waste sites in the country. Rhode Island has 13 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.
“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 Whitehouse and Reed to protect Rhode Islanders and pass a budget that puts our families’ health and community's safety first;one that will give Rhode Islanders more shelter from the storms ahead,” Lamp concluded.