Proposed EPA Budget Cuts; Why it’s Concerning CU Students?

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Back in March, just a few months into his presidency, Donald Trump announced proposed budget cuts from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under Trump’s proposal, it’s expected the EPA’s budget will be cut by almost 31%. In addition, funding for climate change research, efforts aimed at improving energy efficiency, among other things, are also expected to be cut.

Although, president Trump’s proposed budget cuts have yet to be approved by Congress, this has concerned and horrified not only numerous environmental groups across the country, but also students.

P.D. Gantert is a former CU student who graduated with a degree in Geography this past December. Although, he’s no longer a student, he’s still an active member of Fossil Free CU; an environmental group that supports sustainability and clean energy.Gantert is motivated and passionate about protecting the environment because this is an issue that hits close to home. He grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a rural area where oil and gas fracking began. He’s witnessed the devastating effects this has had on his community. “And I see what happens to communities around me, and my community when really wealthy fossil fuel executives get to roll in and extract resources from that community,” said P.D. Gantert.

These extractions have impacted the water quality back home. “I had friends and family members that from time to time would have to get drinking water trucked in because their well water was no longer safe to drink,” said P.D. Gantert. Through the skills he’s learned with being part of Fossil Free CU, he’s trying to stop an oil pipeline from going through his hometown back in Pennsylvania. His goal is to go back to Lancaster and motivate the community.

P.D. Gantert in front of center

P.D. Gantert

“I’m going to go back to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and give people the information they need,” Said P.D. Gantert, “And the invitation that they need to get involved in this work to stop the pipeline that’s going through the place I grew up.” The EPA; the agency that might help him with his efforts, is facing a fight for its own survival.

Although, many other students like Gantert are concerned with how the proposed budget cuts will impact their work and efforts, there’s no need to be worried just yet. According to CU Law Professor, Mark Squillace, President Trump can’t change these regulations overnight. “Mr. Trump comes in and wants to get rid of some of these regulations. Well, he can’t just do it by fiat,” Said Mark Squillace, “He has to actually go through a process just like the rule making process.”

Professor Squillace at desk

Professor Squillace

Everything is a process. Professor Squillace predicts that if the EPA budget cuts are approved, they will be much more modest than initially proposed. As for now, Congress is still considering the President’s proposal.

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