"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ability to protect citizens from premature death and other health problems would be gutted if Congress slashes funding as threatened by Republican lawmakers, its chief said on Wednesday.
Republicans in the House of Representatives have been trying to cut the EPA's budget for this year, saying its regulations on clean air and water hurt businesses.
"Big polluters would flout legal restrictions on dumping contaminants into the air, into rivers and onto the ground," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee.
Jackson said every dollar that goes to protecting federal clean air and clean water laws saves as much as $20 or $30 in costs for health problems requiring visits to hospitals.
'I'm simply saying it's preventive medicine,' Jackson said."
Timothy Gardner reports for Reuters March 2, 2011.
"Obama Administration Defends Clean Air Act" (Riverside Press-Enterprise)
"OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Showtime for Energy and EPA Budget Plans" (E2 Wire)
"Obama Seeks 13% Cut in Environmental Agency's Budget" (Bloomberg)
Liveblog of Senate Environment Committee Hearing (Daily Kos)