Percy Walker looks out over a desolate Uniontown, Alabama, on 11 August 2016. A report found the EPA allowed coal ash to be dumped in a landfill in the town. Photograph: Jay Reeves/AP
Oliver Milman in New York
Friday 3 March 2017 11.00 EST Last modified on Friday 3 March 2017 11.52 EST
Proposal would remove environmental justice office, tasked with bridging gap in pollution in black, Hispanic and low-income areas and wealthier white ones
Planned cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency are set to fall heaviest upon communities of color across the US that already suffer disproportionately from toxic pollution, green groups have warned.
Donald Trump’s administration is proposing a 25% reduction in the EPA’s $8.1bn budget, eliminating nearly 3,000 jobs and several programs including the agency’s environmental justice office. Funding for the cleanup of lead, marine pollution, tribal lands and the Great Lakes region faces severe cuts, while climate initiatives are earmarked for a 70% budget reduction.
The environmental justice office is tasked with bridging the yawning disparity in pollution experienced by black, Hispanic and low-income communities and wealthier white neighborhoods. It provides grants to communities to mop up toxins and rehabilitate abandoned industrial facilities that are invariably found in poorer areas.