Thursday, March 30, 2017

Commentary by Lew Patrie

The proposed budget calling for an obscene $54 billion increase in defense spending plus a nuclear spending spree, appears to be guarantee that the administration is leading the United States into a path of self-destruction.

The budget designers' disregard for science shows their bias by making deep cuts in science-based safeguards affecting non-billionaire Americans, especially those with low-incomes and minorities. Programs marked for reduction or extinction are many that ensured access to clean air, clean water, safe food, and more. Cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency will assure that communities, especially low-income communities, are more exposed to toxics and pollution that harm public health and the environment. Other critical programs at risk keep our air clean by reducing pollution from motor vehicles and encourage farmers to maintain our water and soil under conditions that promote our health.

We must not let the White House and Congress roll back funding for the scientific enterprise across the federal government. President Trump would make irresponsible cuts to climate science and clean energy programs. The Department of Energy's clean energy programs--such as the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy--save consumers money, grow new technologies and businesses, and create jobs. Renewable energy sources are not only less expensive than fossil generated and nuclear energies, but produce more jobs than the latter.

Cuts to the NOAA will hurt our ability to forecast weather, undermine disaster relief, our national security, and national commerce. Though denied by many in high places, most citizens, including the vast majority of scientists, are aware those cuts will also undermine our ability to monitor and understand the impacts of global climate change. Cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency would seriously undermine our nation's ability to prepare for and recover from disasters, and put the safety of Americans at risk. What's more, it's accepting the massive burdens of ecologic disasters, rather than spending less for prevention, that will cost taxpayers more in disaster assistance over the long haul.

Promoting deaths, disease and extravagance is unacceptable, so as my representative in Congress, I urge you to counter these attacks on science and the public good. Congress must stand up for public health and safety and help protect the scientific enterprise across the federal government by rejecting much of our president's proposed budget and through bipartisan efforts work to develop one that benefits our nation and our people..

Lew Patrie

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