Trump's EPA cuts will drain cleanup programs for Puget Sound | KUOW News and Information

Trump's EPA cuts will drain cleanup programs for Puget Sound

Mar 7, 2017

Puget Sound may have a murky future.

The White House is proposing a 93 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget for Puget Sound restoration. The proposal would cut the EPA’s overall budget by about $2 billion.

That news caused "nothing short of panic" at the state run Puget Sound Partnership, according to Executive Director Sheida Sahandy. The partnership coordinates environmental protection and clean up in Puget Sound.

Sahandy: "I think the people who ought to be concerned is everybody who likes living here. You know, it's not just your environmental activists."

More than half of the agency's budget comes from the EPA, and the state matches some of that money. Sahandy says her agency can't fathom what will happen if the Trump administration goes through with the budget cuts.

She says her agency relies on the EPA's financial support just to keep Puget Sound from getting even more polluted.

Sahandy: "It sort of ripples through a lot of different aspects of what we consider our quality of life in the Puget Sound region. Are the beaches going to be able to be kept open for our kids to play? What's going to happen to the shellfish industry? What's going to happen to salmon runs?"

Sahandy says even their existing funding has not been enough to solve all the pollution problems in the sound. That includes cleaning up legacy pollution, and preventing new sources of pollution.