Less Shelter from the Storm

Budget proposal risks Maine’s communities’ safety
For Immediate Release

After Hurricanes Harvey and Irma recently pummeled our coasts, Environment Maine 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 Maine 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 Maine deserves better shelter from the storms,” said Jacqueline Guyol from Environment Maine. “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,” she added.

Environment Maine’s analysis found:

  • Here in Maine we receive $2.56 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.
  • The Clean Water State Revolving Fund provided $10.3 million in 2016 for Maine 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.
  • One in four Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, the most toxic waste sites in the country. Maine has 16 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.

Dr. Janis Petzel, Physician with the Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter, said, “We can’t separate our health from our climate. Once the climate is altered there is only treatment for climate related health problems. In order to prevent these diseases and illnesses, we must work together to support public policy that works to slow climate change and protects our health. Cuts to the EPA will only serve to put Maine children’s and other vulnerable population’s health at risk.”

“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 King and Collins to protect Mainers and pass a budget that puts our families’ health and community's safety first; one that will give Mainers more shelter from the storms ahead,” Jacqueline Guyol concluded. 

Jacqueline Guyol can be contacted at (314) 707-1445 or jacqueline@environmentmaine.org.