Montana’s waterways are critical to the health and welfare of our families, our communities, and wildlife.
Montana’s natural beauty hides major challenges facing our waterways. Fish and other aquatic wildlife struggle to survive in some of our rivers and streams, not all residents have safe water to drink, and mining wastes pollute many of the state’s waterways. But, with the dedicated work of local, state and federal governments – along with residents – the long process of restoring Montana’s waterways to health is underway.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been essential to those efforts – supporting and working with state and local officials and residents to keep pollution out of our waterways, hold polluters accountable, restore degraded waterways to health, and study and monitor Montana’s waterways to ensure their future health and safety.
That progress is now in jeopardy. The Trump administration has proposed deep and devastating cuts to the EPA’s budget. Even if the president’s proposed cuts are scaled back by Congress, they would still have profound negative impacts on the agency’s ability to deter pollution from mines, oil spills, logging, sewage treatment plants, runoff and other sources, while undercutting efforts to restore lakes, rivers and streams across Montana.
We need a strong EPA with sufficient resources to support local cleanup efforts and to partner with state government and communities to protect and restore Montana’s waterways.
Montana’s lakes, rivers and streams are being protected and restored with funding and effort from the EPA. The EPA has worked to:
Table ES-1. How Clean Water in Montana Depends on the EPA
|Montana’s waters are cleaner because the EPA:||The EPA continues to protect clean water by:|
|Collaborated with the state to set pollution limits for the Bitterroot River Watershed||Funding the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s water pollution control program|
|Supported the state drinking water supervision program, which detected and stepped in to correct pollution in the Whitehall water supply||Funding the state’s public water system supervision program, which ensures the implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Montana|
|Identified the polluters responsible for contaminating Silver Bow Creek and enforced and monitored cleanup||Overseeing final stages of cleanup in Silver Bow Creek and long-term monitoring, enforcing cleanup at 17 other Superfund sites across Montana|
|Helped fund local groups to restore the Blackfoot watershed||Funding restoration efforts across the state|
|Supported collaboration with landowners to improve forestry practices in the Swan River Valley||Funding projects to improve land management and decrease runoff pollution across Montana|
|Supported research that surveyed hundreds of tribal homes and improved access to clean water on the Crow Reservation||Supporting research into new threats to water quality and human health impacts of water pollution|
The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the EPA budget put these and other critical programs in danger – threatening the future health of Montana’s waterways.
Even if Congress makes some of these budget cuts less drastic, Montana’s waterways will still suffer without full funding of EPA programs.
Table ES-2. Estimated EPA Grant Funding Losses to Montana if Trump Administration's Proposed Budget Is Enacted (table shows selected programs)
|Program (most recent year for which data are available)||Funding in most recent year||Estimated lost funding due to proposed Trump admin. cuts|
|Water Pollution Control Grants (FY16)||
|Nonpoint Pollution Control Grants (FY16)||
|Drinking Water Protection and Enforcement Grants (FY17)||
|Superfund-Related Grants (FY17)||
Note: Estimates are calculated assuming EPA budget cuts affect all states by the same percentage. Reductions are based on grants from most recent fiscal year.
The job of cleaning up and protecting Montana’s streams, river and lakes is not done. Only a well-funded EPA can continue the region’s legacy of progress in cleaning up Montana’s waterways and ensure that they are healthy and safe for us and future generations to enjoy.