News Feature | September 7, 2017

Trump's EPA Cuts Will Hurt Delaware River Water Quality, Report Finds

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

Delaware.Reg

The Trump administration’s changes to the U.S. EPA have drawn both praise and criticism. In Pennsylvania, a new report on the potential for harm to the Delaware River has drawn the latter.

The PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center released a report late last month that espoused concerns about how budget cuts to the EPA will affect one of Pennsylvania’s most critical water bodies.

“The Trump administration has proposed deep and devastating cuts to the EPA’s budget,” the researchers wrote. “Even if the president’s proposed cuts are scaled back by Congress, they would still have profound negative impacts on the agency’s ability to deter pollution from industrial facilities, agriculture, sewage treatment plants, runoff and other sources, while undercutting efforts to restore iconic waterbodies such as the Delaware River.”

Specifically, the budget reductions to the EPA, which have been praised by many who see the agency’s previous work as government overreach or seek to curtail excessive federal spending, could make it more difficult to protect against source water contamination. And this may be a burden to drinking water treatment operations.

“Water-related programs run directly by the EPA would be cut by 34 percent in the coming fiscal year, under the plan unveiled by the administration in March,” reported NPR’s StateImpact. “Many federal grants to state governments would be reduced by around a third, and funding for research and development would be cut by almost half as part of an overall 31 percent cut to the agency’s budget.”

This would hit areas served by the Delaware river particularly hard, per StateImpact.

“The four Delaware Basin states — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware — would lose some $14 million in grants for the control of pollution from ‘non-point’ sources such as agricultural runoff, and about $3.3 million in funding for the protection of drinking water sources.”

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Contamination Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Delaware River," Ronald Miles © 2014, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/