How Trump's EPA Cuts Could Affect Water In Georgia

Mar 20, 2017

Environmental advocates say Georgia’s water supplies could be at risk if Congress approves President Trump's proposal to cut $2.5 billion from the  Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.

If approved, the budget would slash the EPA's funding by 31 percent and lay off over 3,000 workers. 

Gil Rodgers is the director of the Georgia and Alabama offices of the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says the EPA plays a big role in protecting many facets of the state's environment. 

"This will effect everything, from the EPA's ability to enforce the environmental protection laws that are intended to give us clean air and clean water," Rogers said. "It will also impact the EPA's ability to clean up contaminated sites around Georgia." 

Specifically, Rodgers warns that Georgia's rural communities could be at risk. The EPA subsidizes improvements to water infrastructure in many small towns. But if the proposed budget becomes a reality, rural towns would have to find another way to fix failing water systems. 

"Any small town in Georgia relies on EPA to provide funding for it's sewage treatment plants and drinking water infrastructure," Rodgers said. "Their budgets are not such that they can shoulder those costs themselves." 

Rodgers says the cost cutting measures could lead to increased sewage run–off into local water ways, especially in areas with outdated infrastructure.

In 2014, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave Georgia's storm water drainage systems a D-minus rating. 

The White House says the planned cuts to the EPA and other non-defense programs are part of a $54 billion funding expansion for military and public safety spending.