Cleveland councilman heads to DC to fight back against the President's proposed cuts to EPA

Posted at 8:38 PM, Mar 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 20:38:54-04

Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone is fighting back against the Trump administration's plan to slash funding to the EPA. This all comes as the president, signed an executive order, Tuesday, rolling back former President Obama's effort to combat climate change.

As the president signed the executive order, Zone went to the nation's capital with one goal in mind, to save the EPA's Brownfield Program used by the city of Cleveland for years. A program he says is integral to revitalizing one of America's oldest cities.

A vague campaign promise, coming to fruition. "I believe strongly in clean water and clean energy, but I don't believe what they say. I think it is a scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money," President Trump said in 2015 in a Fox News interview. In the blueprint of his 2018 budget proposal - President Trump zeros in on the environmental protection agency, slashing the department's budget by 31 percent. That's the largest cut among all cabinet departments and major agencies.

"You got to make it economically viable, right now it is not economically viable" President Trump continued.

If approved, the proposal would also cut funding to the Brownfield Industrial site clean-up program by 42 percent, a program Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone says has helped Northeast Ohio turn public safety hazards into golden opportunities. "Look at what is happening. Cleveland has it's mojo back, and we need to keep this momentum going," said Zone.

Through the program, localities can apply for grants to fund the assessment and redevelopment of brownfield properties. "Much of the dollars that flow through the federal government allows us to go and do assessments, to do a phase 1, which is just a historical understanding of what that land used was," explained Zone.

Take the former Trinity building as an example. An eyesore to Cleveland residents for 20 years, held up by contaminated concrete slabs. It was through EPA grants the city leveled the building, making it shovel-ready for new businesses. "For every three applications that are submitted only one is approved. So the program is woefully underfunded," said Zone.

So in front of the subcommittee on water resources and environment, Zone not only asked congress to save the program but to increase funding. "All along our waterways was built along a rail line, and those are some of the most contaminated pieces of real estate," said Zone.