A toxicologist says that budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may leave drinking water in other communities besides Flint, Michigan unsafe.
“We’re never going to reach the tipping point of giving people clean water,” Keith Fusinski said Monday of the Trump administration’s current EPA funding plans.
“One thing people don’t tend to realize is 60 percent of the EPA’s budget is actually flow-through,” he added on Michigan Radio’s “Stateside.”
“The money comes to [the] EPA and we basically distribute it to states and local municipalities for them to use on low-level loans to fix their infrastructure and replace it.”
Fusinski, who is also vice president of Local 704 of the American Federation of Government Employees, added that EPA budget cuts may result in cutting funds that go to individual states.
“Now, what you keep hearing from the administration is we want the EPA cut so the states can take over. States don’t have the money to do this. It’s just not there.”
Some Twitter users on Tuesday voiced outrage that Flint continues struggling with drinking water following a safety crisis that started in 2014.
We're all sucked in and emotionally exhausted trying to keep up or remember things while climate change and Flint's water crisis plow on.— White Guy Confidence (@karenkho) August 1, 2017
Flint changed its drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014, and insufficient water treatment for the new supply exposed hundreds of thousands there to high levels of lead.
A federal state of emergency was declared in 2016 over Flint’s water, but the Michigan city is expected to finish replacing lead pipes responsible for the problem no sooner than 2020.
Long-term lead poisoning causes migraines, memory issues, infertility, constipation and can even result in permanent intellectual challenges, particularly for children.
The House Appropriations Committee earlier this month, meanwhile, voted to cut the EPA’s funding by $528 million.
The cuts, though significant, are far less than the $2.6 billion reduction that President Trump requested in May in his 2018 federal budget.