Reply from Representative Derek Kilmer

17 Jan. 2018 email reply from Representative Derek Kilmer:

“Dear Michael,
     “Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding proposed funding cuts to programs and agencies that protect our environment. I appreciate you taking the time to write and share your thoughts with me. I share your concern.
     Like you, one of the reasons I enjoy living in our region is because I value the richness of our environment. We have an obligation to be responsible stewards of our lands and waters so that we can maintain the beauty and diverse wildlife of the Northwest for future generations. In order to do that, we need to support programs that are focused on restoring and conserving our lands, forests, wildlife, and natural resources. The budget proposed by the Trump Administration threatens this goal. Specifically, the proposed budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems explicitly designed to undermine the mission of the agency.
     “The Trump budget would jeopardize our efforts to protect clean water. This is the attitude that led to water crises that we saw in Flint and elsewhere.
     “The Trump budget would jeopardize our efforts to protect clean air. The systemic undermining of clean air laws and the elimination of positions to ensure pollutants aren’t poisoning our air would undeniably damage public health.
     “The Trump budget would exacerbate climate change. The new administration is proposing to defund the commitments we’ve made to reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. What’s more, they propose eliminating the coastal assistance programs targeted at helping communities dealing with the impacts of climate change.
     “The Trump budget would harm our network of forests and parks. By removing protections for these places and opening them up to greater fossil fuel development, we’ll see a rapid decline in the richness and beauty of our shared public lands.
     “The Trump budget would undermine the progress we’ve made to protect Puget Sound, an icon of our region. With the help of the EPA, we’re making progress in recovering a body of water that is critical to our region’s economic and environmental health. But the Trump Administration wants to zero this assistance out.
     “It’s important to acknowledge that these cuts are not only an affront to our environmental ethic. They’re bad for our economy. Just take Puget Sound cuts as an example. There are 3,200 people in our region whose jobs are tied to shellfish growing. They depend on clean water and a recovered Puget Sound. Our fisheries depend on clean water. Our tourism industry depends on a Puget Sound that is valued – not ignored.
     “The President’s budget director said that their budget was focused on cuts to programs that have been “ineffective.” I find this assertion absolutely bizarre. It’s inaccurate to suggest that programs that protect clean air and clean water haven’t worked. It’s nuts to suggest that investments to clean up toxic waste sites and recover Puget Sound haven’t made a difference. I could go on.
     “Let me be clear. I’m opposed to funding cuts and budget language that will harm our environment. As Vice Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment, please know that I will continue to look for opportunities to fund effective environmental programs.
     “Although the House passed spending bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 points us in a better direction than the Trump budget, it still doesn’t set us up to make the strong investments we need to protect our environment.
     “With that in mind, your advocacy is tremendously important. We’ve got a lot of work to do to advance our environmental priorities, and it will absolutely require public engagement. Please know that as the House and Senate continue to work on the final FY 2018 spending bill, I will be advocating for the inclusion of robust funding to support environmental programs.

     “Let me end by saying that this is personal to me. I’ve got two little girls. We know that our kids are only as safe as the water they drink, the air they breathe, and the earth we pass on to them. I’m enormously motivated to fight the fight for them. We’ll keep at it!
     “I encourage you to continue to share your views with me on this topic or any other issue. Thank you for reaching out. It is an honor to serve as your representative.

Derek Kilmer
Member of Congress”