Statement: AFGE 704: Proposed EPA budget cuts will mortally wound environment, local economies

CHICAGO (March 16, 2017)–Following is a statement from Michael Mikulka, President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704, the union representing employees of the Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, in response to the drastic proposed Trump administration cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget:

“These cuts amount to the White House sending a wrecking ball into the heart of the Environmental Protection Agency–and they’ll put American lives at risk.

“The cuts would cripple EPA employees’ ability to do our duty to protect the nation’s natural and economic health. Communities across the country could now be subject to long-banned practices such as the dumping of industrial and mining waste and untreated sewage into lakes, streams and rivers. Wildlife and fish populations will likely be reduced, and human health will be directly damaged as a result of dropping longstanding environmental safeguards. And make no mistake: if these cuts are implemented, the safety of the nation’s drinking water and the air we breathe will be at stake.

“The proposed federal budget would shift the responsibility for water, land and air quality to the states and localities; but that is nothing more than a pipedream. The White House must face the hard truth that states are already struggling and lack the capacity to manage these programs. Here in Illinois, we’ve been without a state budget whatsoever for two years.

“EPA Region 5 manages the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, for which funding has been zeroed out in this proposal. The Great Lakes are the biggest fresh-water supply on the planet and source the drinking water for most of the Midwest. For recreation, health and safety, the protection of the Great Lakes ought to be top priority. Instead, they are being slashed. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin will be in grave danger as a result.

“We urge lawmakers in Washington to roundly reject these EPA cuts, and protect human health and the environment for all Americans.”


Great Lakes and GLRI

Great Lakes Videos

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has been working to protect and restore our greatest economic and environmental resource — the Great Lakes, the largest source of fresh surface water on Earth. These Great Lakes Great Impact videos show some of the success stories.

Sign up at this link to receive the latest news from the Joyce Foundation on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Joyce Foundation continually watches for improvements in environmental conditions, community gatherings, mentions in local and national news outlets, and legislative developments.

Media Coverage

Links to AFGE media coverage:

In Chicago, EPA Staffers go to PR School

Nicole Cantello speaking on Ben Joravsky show

The Sunday Spin: Politics with rick Pearson Full Show 4/2/17

The Atlantic – I Ran George W. Bush’s EPA – and Trump’s Cuts to the Agency Would Endanger Lives

Chicago SunTimes- Editorial – Because of EPA, Chicago is cleaner and safer — let’s not go back 

Chicago Tribune – Local science community rallies around opposition to Trump, plans march

Chicago SunTimes – Brown: Clearing the air on people, issues hit by Trump’s EPA cuts

Washington Post (US) – Hundreds of current, former EPA employees urge Senate to reject Trump’s nominee for the agency

Chicago Tonight, WTTW – Great Lakes Funding Threatened

MSNBC (US) – EPA employees rally in opposition to Trump’s choice to lead agency

Chicago Tribune (IL) – Hundreds of current and former EPA employees protest Trump’s nominee in Chicago

Associated Press (IL) – Scores of EPA workers object to Trump’s pick to lead agency

Reuters (US) – U.S. EPA employees protest Trump’s pick to run agency

Univision Chicago (IL) – Ambientalistas y activistas en Chicago alzan su voz contra el nominado de Trump para liderar EPA

WTTW Chicago (IL) – Story on Senator Dick Durbin Pruitt Announcement and Rally

CLTV Chicago (IL) – Story on #SavetheEPA rally – Qutoe from Dan Biss and shots of large crowd

WGN Chicago (IL) – Story on #SavetheEPA rally – Qutoe from Dan Biss and shots of large crowd

UPI (US) – Current, former EPA workers urge Congress to reject nominee Pruitt

ThinkProgress (US) – Scott Pruitt hasn’t even been confirmed and EPA employees are already protesting

In These Times (US) – EPA Workers to Trump: We Don’t Want Scott Pruitt as Our New Boss

GOOD (US) – 100 EPA Officials Turned Their Lunch Break Into A Rally To Protest Their New Boss

ColorLines (US) – Former and Current EPA Employees Denounce Trump’s Pick for Top Administrator

Daily Kos (US) – EPA employees put their jobs on the line to protest Scott Pruitt

E&E News (US) – GOP bill to scrap agency prompts backlash, protests

E&E News (US) – Former employees blast Pruitt in letter to Senate

E&E News (US) – Chicago staffers rally against spending cuts

WOWK-TV Charleston (WV) – News reader on #SavetheEPA rally in Chicago


Durbin Event Press Hits:

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) – Durbin says he’ll vote against Scott Pruitt for EPA chief

Chicagoist (IL) – Illinois Senators Durbin & Duckworth To Vote No On Trump Cabinet Picks

Crain’s Chicago Business (IL) – Durbin on blocking Trump cabinet picks: ‘That’s my job’

Chicago Tribune (IL) – Durbin, Duckworth say they’ll vote no on education nominee

WMAQ Chicago (IL) – Story on Senator Dick Durbin Announcement on Pruitt with footage of Sierra Club press conference

WTTW Chicago (IL) – Story on Senator Dick Durbin Pruitt Announcement and Rally

Univision Chicago (IL) – Ambientalistas y activistas en Chicago alzan su voz contra el nominado de Trump para liderar EPA


Happy Valentine’s Day EPA

love-epaLast week, asked their supporters to show EPA staff some love on Valentine’s Day –for science, for communities and for the climate. Here are the thousands of love notes they received.  Some examples:

  • Thank you for your efforts to keep the environment safe for present and future generations!
  • At least a quarter-billion people in this country want EPA to keep doing what it’s always done.  We hope you’ll thwart what Trump tries to do.  We’ll give you all the support we can!
  • Thank you for fighting the good fight and for everything you do at the EPA!!! Those of us rational people of conscience truly appreciate it! We’ll keep fighting for you just as you’ve fought for our environment.
  • I love the EPA and what it has done to improve the purity of the air we breathe and the water we drink.  Please continue your efforts relentlessly to protect our environment.