Reuters reported last week on an early White House budget proposal leak that calls for a significant decline in federal spending to protect and revitalize the San Francisco Bay.
In fact, funding would decline to zero. The leaked budget proposal is not a finished plan and that Congress will have to approve any funding changes.
This would be part of a larger effort to cut jobs and scale back spending at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The 23-page 2018 budget proposal, which aims to slice the environmental regulator's overall budget by 25 percent to $6.1 billion and staffing by 20 percent to 12,400 as part of a broader effort to fund increased military spending, would cut deeply into programs like climate protection, environmental justice and enforcement.
Among the many expenditures that would go under the preliminary plan is $4.8 million that the EPA dedicated to SF Bay conservation in 2016.
California Senator and former Mayor of San Francisco Dianne Feinstein helped established the SF Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund in 2008.
Since then the grant program has distributed nearly $45 million to programs for restoring Bay Area wetlands, improving water quality and cleanliness, and facilitating environmentally friendly building standards.
As Jane Diamond, one of the EPA’s water directors, explained in a 2015 progress report, federal money is an important tool for accruing additional funds:
Over the past six years, EPA has partnered with organizations across the nine Bay Area counties through the San Francisco Bay Water Quality Improvement Fund, using more than $36 million in EPA funding to leverage $145 million in additional funds.
Non-government groups are more likely to invest in a program with federal support, either matching funds or making contributions of their own.
The bay’s program is one of seven EPA initiatives the White House would eliminate completely. Water-related projects in other states like Michigan and Washington would see cuts of up to 97 percent.