Hamilton addresses how proposed federal budget cuts could impact Hoosier health, the economy and the environment

September 6, 2018 Carey Hamilton

At a press conference today, State Rep.  Carey Hamilton (D-Indianapolis) shared the following statement on the impact proposed federal budget cuts could have on Indiana’s environment:

“Hello, my name is Carey Hamilton and I represent the people of House District 87, on the north side of Indianapolis. I serve on the Indiana General Assembly’s Committee on Environmental Affairs and I am a mother.

I’m speaking today because I am concerned about how proposed federal budget cuts could impact important state programs.

Hoosiers want to live in healthy communities and we expect our members of Congress to defend programs that protect the health of our children and preserve the outdoor places where our families recreate.

We also understand that the strong and thriving economies of today and tomorrow rely on a healthy environment.

EPA funding helps clean up toxic sites. When cleaned up, these sites that once hurt neighborhoods become sites ready for redevelopment and new economic activity.

Indiana has 39 sites on the EPA’s Superfund list of the most toxic sites in the nation, as well as 220 brownfield sites with potential to be restored into viable, job-creating commercial land.

We cannot afford a federal budget that makes reductions to programs that clean up these areas to make them available for new economic activity. These programs deliver smart investments in our state’s future.

In addition, healthy communities spend billions less than unhealthy communities on medical costs and productivity losses from exposure to pollution.

Healthy communities are attractive to the sorts of employers that we want to move here – employers that bring high-paying jobs to our state.

Every time we are ranked near the bottom of a national environmental scorecard – and unfortunately it happens often – we become less competitive and less able to attract the jobs of the future.

A healthy environment is good for our economy, our health and for our quality of life.

The current budget supported by Congressional House leadership reduces funding for EPA programs by $228 million – an 11% cut to key scientific research, enforcement of existing safeguards, and protections for our clean air and water.

If these proposed cuts are passed, our state government and our local communities will be faced with difficult choices that will put our health and our environment at risk, as well as take a toll on our local economy.

In addition to funding cuts, the current budget proposal repeals the Clean Water Rule. Eliminating this measure would put Indiana’s streams, waterways and other bodies of water at greater risk of contamination – further threatening our health and the wellbeing of Indiana’s recreational economy.

In central Indiana, we are seeing unprecedented coordination, planning and new funding to reclaim our waterways. We are working together to activate our waterways for a range of recreational and community engagement opportunities.

Similar efforts are happening in communities across Indiana. These efforts will improve the quality of life for Hoosiers for generations to come. All of this work will be hampered by the elimination of the Clean Water Rule. The vibrant recreational resource we envision will be hurt.

If funding is not restored, the EPA will be operating at its lowest budget level in 30 years. That is deeply troubling.

A budget is all about priorities. Let’s not slash vital programs that deliver smart investments in our state’s future.

As Congress goes back to work, please join me in urging our congressional delegation to restore EPA funding and programs that help Hoosiers.”