The following letter to the editor was published in The Daily Gazette on August 24, 2019 and was written by Saratoga Springs resident Maude Emerson.
Don’t let Trump gut EPA’s protections
For much of the past year, drivers in Saratoga Springs had to detour around a construction site at the intersection of Excelsior and High Rock Avenues.
What looked like the expansion of a church parking lot and a little municipal groundskeeping was in fact a project to clean up polluted soil at the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Superfund site.
Federal Superfund sites are areas contaminated by toxic waste that the Environmental Protection Agency has designated top priorities for cleanup. There are dozens of federal Superfund sites in New York and two dozen more that have been successfully remediated and removed from the list of national priorities.
The Superfund program is only one way in which the EPA makes New York a safer and healthier place to live, and only one of many programs that are at risk under the Trump administration.
The White House has proposed a budget for 2020 that docks the Superfund budget by $116 million.
The proposal also includes a vast array of cuts to the EPA that will make it easier for polluters to release toxic chemicals into our environment and harder for federal and state governments to hold them to account.
With the upcoming budget negotiations, our senators have an opportunity to reject the president’s vision of a future in which industries are free to pollute with impunity. They can build, instead, an EPA that will outlast the current administration and continue to protect our communities far into the future.