EWG: Trump’s Proposed Cuts to EPA, USDA Are ‘Nothing But Bad News’ For Farmers and Other Rural Americans

WASHINGTONPresident Trump’s proposed budget would slash vital programs at the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture that help farmers and rural communities reduce their exposure to farm pollution, including dangerous pesticides and pathogens from animal waste, said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs.

"The Trump budget is nothing but bad news for farmers and other people who live in farm country,” said Faber. “The proposed deep cuts to the EPA’s pesticide review programs will delay assessments of new, potentially safer pesticides and will delay efforts to phase out older, dangerous pesticides. This wrong-headed proposal not only endangers American consumers nationwide, but also farmers, farmworkers and their families, who work and live near these noxious crop chemicals every day.”

The president’s EPA budget proposal would cut the agency’s pesticide licensing program by $16.6 million, or 16 percent. This program approves new, less toxic pesticides and takes action to ban older pesticides shown to be harmful to human health. If the president’s cuts go into effect, it will be hard for farmers to deploy newer and safer pest control technologies.

Trump is also calling for an almost 40 percent cut to the EPA’s pesticide enforcement program, which gives states resources to make sure farmers follow pesticide application rules on their fields and don’t pollute nearby waterways and communities.

The administration seeks to cut important conservation programs within the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service by more than $500 million, or 11.4 percent, as well. These programs help farmers reduce fertilizer, pesticide and manure runoff into the streams, rivers and lakes that are drinking water sources for millions of rural Americans. Overall, the president’s budget calls for slashing conservation programs by $5.6 billion over the next decade.

“The president’s budget is a recipe for more dirty water, filled with pesticides and pathogens, that will find its way into the drinking water taps of rural America,” said Faber. “This won’t make life easier for farmers – instead, it hamstrings them from taking the steps needed to reduce exposures to dangerous pesticides and animal waste that often foul sensitive water sources. Rural Americans didn’t vote for a daily dose of pesticide-and-pathogen mouthwash, but under this budget that’s what they might get.” 

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