Christie Whitman: Trump's EPA cuts put lives at risk

By Brent Johnson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on April 01, 2017

TRENTON -- Former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman is warning that President Donald Trump's "unprecedented" proposed budget cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, which she used to run, pose a "great danger to Americans' lives."

Whitman, a Republican who served as governor from 1994 to 2001, made the declarations in an op-ed she wrote that was published by The Atlantic magazine on Friday.

"Practically speaking, funding for climate-change research would be axed, public-health programs would be effectively defunded, state environmental programs would be closed, and regional projects would end," Whitman writes. "Make no mistake: Human health would be endangered."

The first federal budget Trump, a Republican, has proposed as president would slash EPA funding by 31 percent -- or about one-third of the agency's budget, as Whitman points out.

Among her many arguments, Whitman said the "greatest threat the new budget poses" is to several "vital bodies of water," including cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the elimination of funding to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Trump's budget is only a proposal. It needs to be passed by both houses of Congress and will likely see changes before it is finalized. 

"As Congress considers its own spending proposals to counter the president's, lawmakers must reject Trump's cuts to the EPA -- for the sake of all Americans' health," Whitman concludes.

Spokespeople for the White House did not immediately return a message from NJ Advance Media late Friday seeking comment. 

Whitman left her second term as governor to become EPA administrator under newly elected President George W. Bush in 2001. She resigned as EPA director in 2003 after a few public rifts with the Bush administration.

Whitman, a moderate Republican, has repeatedly criticized Trump, a former Atlantic City casino mogul. During the 2016 presidential campaign, she wrote a piece for Politico in which she compared Trump, a former Atlantic City casino magnate, to World War II Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. 

In December, Whitman also criticized Trump's pick for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general. Whitman told Grist, an environmental news agency, said Pruitt was "disdainful of the agency and the science behind what the agency does."

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