Budget cuts bad for Keweenaw

To the editor:

Mr. Trump’s proposed budget includes dramatic cuts in funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These cuts have serious implications for residents of the U.P. EPA programs help to maintain the clean air, water, and forests that many of us value, and that support the growth of our local industries.

The proposed cuts include a 36 percent reduction in a program that restores former industrial sites contaminated by pollution. On the Keweenaw, we know firsthand what can happen when byproducts of industry are left on the landscape.

For example, residents of Schoolcraft Township are grappling with the impacts of stamp sands, which are cutting off access to the marina and threatening trout spawning areas.

The EPA not only helps communities clean up waste left by industry, but it also works to prevent such problems in the first place.

Mr. Trump’s budget would completely cut the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has helped fund projects across the U.P. that clean up waste, restore wetlands and shoreline and combat invasive species.

These activities protect our drinking water, support the Great Lakes fishing and tourism industries and result in increased property values in rehabilitated areas.

The GLRI supports an estimated 800,000 jobs for Michigan residents.

Crippling the agency by slashing its budget and hindering its science advisory board threatens the health and safety of the America public.

As President Richard Nixon said when he created the EPA: “We still think of air as free. But clean air is not free, and neither is clean water.”

Support for protecting the environment and the health of the public used to transcend politics, and I hope that is still the case. Please urge our congressman, Rep. Jack Bergman, and Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to speak out against these budget cuts.

Kristen Schmitt