by Aaron Bolton
The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency could total $2 billion, putting 3,000 people out of work nationwide, according to the Washington Post and other news sources. Eighteen Southeast Alaska tribes who use the EPA’s Indian General Assistance Program could also see steep cuts in funding as a result. President Donald Trump’s proposal, intended to boost the defense budget, would slash the program’s $65-million funding by 29 percent.
According to an EPA press release, Region 10, which includes Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska, received $32 million for the program in 2016.
Those funds go towards tribal projects such as stream restoration, solid waste disposal, ocean acidification prevention and paralytic shellfish poisoning monitoring throughout the region.
Hydaburg Cooperative Association Environmental Coordinator Anthony Christensen says the cuts would eliminate about four year-round jobs within his tribe. Christensen, who is also in charge of obtaining additional grants for the tribe, added 10 to 15 seasonal jobs could also be lost.
“That’s my job. You take me out of the equation, that puts us in a tough position. Because I’m core to six other grants, sort of capacity building – if I’m unable to do that, the domino effect starts.”
Trump’s budget is not final. The EPA declined to comment for this story.