How could the federal cuts to the EPA directly affect you?

Posted at 7:19 AM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-24 11:38:28-04

The Trump administration's plan to slash funding to the EPA has had environmental groups up in arms, worried about loss of jobs, lack of research, and more significantly resources to preserve the Great Lakes.

News 5's Lauren Wilson spent some time out on the water at the Put-in-Bay shores, taking a deeper look into how exactly these changes could directly affect residents of Northeast Ohio.

"I believe strongly in clean water, but I don't believe what they say. I think it's a scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money" said President Trump shortly after he announced his plans to cut more than 31 percent t of federal funds going toward the Environmental Protection Agency.

But tell that to Justin Chaffin, research coordinator at Ohio State University’s  Stone Lab on Put-in-Bay shores. Every morning at the crack of dawn, he hits the Lake on a very specific mission.

“We put it out early enough so it's ahead of any summer activities," he said.

He's referring to a special buoy placed in a specific part of Lake Erie every year.

“They measure cyanobacteria biomass, which is the harm for algal blooms that we were concerned about," he explained.

RELATED: Trump's First Budget Plan Would Take An Ax To The EPA's Funds

The Toledo algae bloom crisis back in 2014 is why this buoy is here and Chaffin said their hope is that it will help prevent something like that from ever happening again, when more than 500,000 Northwest Ohio residents went without drinking water for weeks.

It is what Chaffin said he's most concerned about with these new proposed budget cuts.

“About 25 to 30% of our funding comes from the federal government, so obviously if we get that cut… Obviously, we're gonna have to just what we do," he said.

But Republican supporters of the cuts, like Congressman Jim Renacci, say there's no other way.

“We have a federal budget that is growing, we have a deficit that's going to continue to grow, so I know what the president is trying to do," Congressman Renacci said.

Meantime, environmental groups in our area say they are preparing for the worst, telling me the impact could be significant. Even for us in Northeast Ohio.

“Everything that happens in the western basin of like Erie can flow to the central basin where we are," said Crystal Davis, Policy Director for the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

Chaffin said he did not want to disclose their exact plan of how they're preparing for the potential changes, but he did say he is confident the stone lab and the work that they do to preserve the lake won't completely disappear.