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Local environmental agencies preparing for Trump administration's cuts to budget

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Mobile Baykeeper is in Washington DC to meet with members of the EPA as well as lawmakers about the proposed budget cuts. (SOURCE: WPMI)

Local environmental conservation agencies are preparing to deal with massive cuts proposed by the Trump administration.

From the beaches to the bays and rivers, being on the water is a way of life for many on the Gulf Coast.

However, local environmental organizations say the quality of that water could be at stake and the cuts proposed by President Donald Trump's administration would be devastating.

President Trump's budget proposal aims to cut 31% of the environmental protection agency's budget.

The move would eliminate the EPA's climate change programs and trim back initiatives aimed at protecting air and water quality.

According to Casi Callaway, Executive Director of Mobile Baykeeper, it would have a direct impact on Alabama's waterways.

"Our economy is based on clean water. It's seafood. It's even our major manufacturing which depend on clean water to process their products," said Callaway.

President Trump's budget also aims to slash funding to numerous other environmental agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization, or NOAA, in order to increase military spending.

Yael Girard, Executive Director for the Weeks Bay Foundation, says the Weeks Bay Reserve gains 70% of their funding for environmental research throughout Baldwin and Mobile counties from NOAA.

"It's doing research on what's happening in the estuaries. And what's happening to seafood species, to the shoreline and to the water quality. We're looking at how to best restore our shoreline, how to best protect those things. All of those research efforts would have to stop," Girard said.

The budget would also eliminate 3,200 EPA employees, which is roughly 19% of the current workforce and around $100 million in spending.

Callaway says the fallout from that would be felt anytime there is an environmental disaster.

"When you have red clay running into a river or sewage spills, ADEM wouldn't have the staff to make sure they're fixing it and doing it right," said Callaway,"You don't take a hatchet to what needs a scalpel. We need to find out what programs aren't working, what regulations aren't working and go after those."

Mobile Baykeeper is in Washington DC to meet with members of the EPA as well as lawmakers about the proposed budget cuts.

If you’d like to get involved, you can contact Mobile Baykeeper or the Weeks Bay Reserve.

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