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We must act to protect Puget Sound

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A banner saying "Fight Back - Protect Puget Sound" is held up at a Mariners game.

Your help is urgently needed to protect Puget Sound.

On Tuesday March 22, the federal government officially released a proposed budget that decimates funding to protect the environment and public health. If approved by Congress, this budget would go into effect on the first of October — the beginning of the new fiscal year.

Whether or not this budget can pass Congress, it’s a clear message to people across the nation who depend on clean air and water: protecting those vital resources is not a priority for this administration. The budget cuts overall EPA funding by almost a third, the largest proposed cut to any federal agency, and removes almost 4,000 jobs. It shuts down science programs focused on helping communities address the threat of climate change. It halves the budget for the office that determines how much pollution is allowed in our drinking water.

The proposal would completely eliminate dedicated federal funding for Puget Sound cleanup and restoration. It would also cut funding for cleaning up Superfund sites, the most toxic sites around the country, identified as targets for cleanup because they pose a risk to human health and the environment. The Lower Duwamish Waterway, contaminated with toxic heavy metals and PCBs, is one of more than 30 Superfund cleanup sites in the Puget Sound watershed.  It would reduce federal enforcement of clean air and water protections by 40 percent, and cut by 45 percent the grants that fund states to do that enforcement themselves.  And the budget proposes severe cuts to environmental justice programs and tribal grants, a move that imperils communities already suffering the most from toxic pollution.

Every EPA dollar spent on Puget Sound recovery efforts has leveraged more than $24 in matching funds from other federal agencies and local partners, including the state, tribes, and non-profits. And federal funding currently supports regional projects on pathogen reduction, collaborative work on recovery and restoration projects, and tools that allow communities to identify pollution near their homes.

Today I’m asking your help to fight back. We simply cannot allow this proposed budget to become reality. It would cripple successful progress to protect and restore the waterways that support everyone living in the Puget Sound region, and it would put our communities at risk. Everyone living here has a right to clean air, clean water and a safe environment. Take action today to make your voice heard for a healthy Puget Sound!  
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