Tennessee Benefits From the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA provides grants to states to implement control programs for "non-point" sources of water pollution, like agricultural runoff, which are often poorly controlled but which also can be significant contributors to water bodies' degradation. In fiscal year 2016, EPA provided Tennessee with approximately $2.5 million. Trump’s budget proposes cutting categorical grants by roughly 45%.
In Fiscal Year 2016, EPA supported over $19 million in water infrastructure grants in Tennessee under the Clean Water Act’s State Revolving Fund program. Nationally, EPA reports that since 1987, that program “provided over … $118.7 billion to communities” and supported “38,450 low-cost loans” for wastewater system repairs and upgrades that prevent raw sewage discharges, manage contaminated urban runoff, and upgrade publicly owned treatment facilities. By slashing clean drinking water funding coming through the Department of Agriculture for small rural communities, Trump’s budget proposal would reduce the overall national investment in water infrastructure and place additional pressure on the revolving funds.
EPA’s Clean Water Rule protects small streams and other critical water bodies. In Tennessee, headwater, rain-fed, and seasonal streams contribute to the drinking water supplies of 3.5 million people. The budget for EPA programs to prevent water pollution should not be reduced.
In Tennessee, EPA programs to reduce dangerous air pollution and toxic mercury save up to 2,075 lives per year. Cutting EPA’s budget won’t protect our air or health.
EPA standards to reduce dangerous air pollution and toxic mercury from power plants in Tennessee will create $3 billion in health benefits for the state. Cutting funding for the EPA could jeopardize clean air programs that create millions of dollars in health benefits.
The EPA plays a central role in protecting our air quality, providing benefits to the 448,599 adults and 145,505 children in Tennessee diagnosed with asthma. Asthma attacks were the cause of 13,779 pediatric emergency room visits and over $1.1 billion in associated medicals costs in Tennessee in 2008.
Trump’s proposed budget would cut enforcement by 24% - this would eliminate funding to pursue cases when power plants violate laws that reduce dangerous emissions in Tennessee’s communities.
There are 17 hazardous waste sites in Tennessee on the EPA’s National Priority List for the Superfund program, which helps communities clean up toxic pollution. Trump’s proposed budget would cut the Superfund program by more than 30%, slowing down their ability to help clean up these sites.
In Tennessee, there are 130 brownfields sites, land contaminated and needing cleanup to be used or redeveloped. Without funding, the EPA won’t be able to clean-up dangerous contamination.
Nationally, the ENERGY STAR New Homes program, which allows homeowners to purchase third-party verified, highly-efficient homes, has saved American homeowners more than $4.7 billion on utility bills over the last 20 years. In total, the program has saved homeowners enough energy to power 2 million homes for a year – while improving comfort and indoor air quality. In 2015, almost 10 percent of all single-family homes built were ENERGY STAR-rated, with these new homeowners expected to save $21 million annually on their electric and gas bills. In Tennessee, this program saves consumers over $190,000 annually.
Over 450,000 buildings across the country use ENERGY STAR’s Portfolio Manager database to track and publish their energy use. Of these, around 30,000 commercial buildings – representing a diverse set of buildings including offices, hospitals, congregations, and schools – have achieved an ENERGY STAR rating of 75 or higher. This means that the building is more efficient than at least 75 percent of all similar building types in the nation. In Tennessee, 362 buildings are ENERGY STAR-rated.
In the United States, almost 10,000 school buildings have achieved an ENERGY STAR rating of 75 or higher that results in cost savings and improved indoor air quality. In Tennessee, 61 schools have earned this ENERGY STAR rating with an estimated annual cost saving of $1.4 million.
Trump’s budget proposal would eliminate this program entirely, preventing future efficiencies and savings.