SUNY ESF could be hit hard by Trump’s proposed EPA cuts

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ESF Baker Lab Exterior

Places like SUNY ESF are watching closely to see if the deep EPA cuts proposed by President Trump will stay in the final Federal budget.

The EPA is facing a 31 percent cut including many core initiatives under the White House budget.

SUNY ESF is a recipient every year of thousands of dollars from the EPA for various research projects and studies.

The monitoring site at Huntington Forest in the Adirondacks is operated by ESF in conjunction with the EPA. 

It’s a significant player in the acid rain story which has seen atmosphere acidity reversed to pre-industrial levels.

SUNY ESF Professor of Ecology Colin Beier, says, “We have a successful outcome in terms of a policy, influenced by good science that by the way has not broken the back of the energy industry or any of the other industries that were polluting.”

Beier is very concerned the proposed EPA cuts could severely damage efforts like this to protect the environment.

“The cuts they are talking about are going to slash local, state and tribal programs including the monitoring programs that measure how much pollution is falling out of the air and into our lakes and into our forests.”  Beier tells NewsChannel 9.

Fellow ESF professor and researcher Greg Boyer is also the head of the Great Lakes Research Consortium, made up of 18 SUNY colleges.

Boyer tells NewsChannel 9 he’s trying to remain optimistic the cuts won’t be as severe as proposed but says even the talk of them could still impact research.

“Where I see the biggest downside being people getting discouraged not dong the lead time.  If there’s a change in administration or a change in the policy in the current administration they’re not ready to do the next step.”   Boyer says.

He says he just heard back that a large EPA grant application to work on the cleanup of Lake Erie is moving forward and is hopeful it will get funded.

“The Great Lakes will be here in 4 or 5 years, you should be thinking at a longer time frame than a presidential cycle no matter what.”  Boyer says.

The final Federal budget will be determined by Congress and is due October 1.

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