Rss@dailykos.com (mark Sumner) · Thursday, April 06, 2017, 3:34 pm
When budget cuts are up at the level of departments or agencies, it’s easy to garner support. That’s especially true for agencies like the EPA, where Republicans have invested literally decades into the idea that environmental rules are “too burdensome” and constantly getting in the way. Tell the average Trump voter that his proposed budget cuts deeply into the EPA, and it’s bound to draw cheers.
But when it comes to the details, this is what cuts like that actually mean.
Environmental Protection Agency officials are proposing to eliminate two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint, which is known to cause damage to developing brains and nervous systems.
The proposed cuts, outlined in a 64-page budget memo revealed by The Washington Post on Friday, would roll back programs aimed at reducing lead risks by $16.61 million and more than 70 employees, in line with a broader project by the Trump administration to devolve responsibility for environmental and health protection to state and local governments.
Though lead has been banned from paint for many years, it’s still found in 38 million American homes. As that paint ages and turns into strips, chips, and dust, it’s increasingly dangerous to children. The targeted programs are intended to help remove threats from lead as homes are sold and remodeled.
Lead is a potent neurotoxin, and particularly harmful to children and the elderly. Its dangers in gasoline, paint and drinking water have been scientifically documented over many decades, which has led to stronger regulatory protections.
Scientifically documented? Well, there’s the problem. Republicans are bound to be able to find at least one industry “scientist” who disagrees.