First impressions – Obama 2016 budget a mixed bag for the health of overburdened communities

President Obama’s 2016 budget was released on Monday.  The devil is in the details, but on first blush it is hard to see it as a plus for the health of overburdened communities near ports and freight corridors.

The budget proposes that American taxpayers spend almost half a trillion dollars over six years to expand American ports, railroads, and roads, including the environmentally damaging Savannah Harbor dredging project.

It provides 2016 funds for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work on proposals to deepen or widen 13 major US ports:

  • Boston Harbor, MA
  • Houston Ship Channel, TX
  • New Haven Harbor, CT
  • Manatee Harbor, FL
  • Mississippi River Baton Rouge to the Gulf, LA
  • Mobile Harbor, AL
  • Norfolk Harbor , VA
  • Port of Long Beach, CA
  • Rota Harbor, North Mariana Islands
  • San Juan, PR
  • Saginaw River, MI
  • Seattle Harbor, WA
  • Tinian Harbor, Northern Mariana Islands

It also provides the EPA with small amounts of additional funding and staffing to help overburdened communities, and for advanced monitoring.

The budget also has other attractive features – it provides more funding for clean energy and reducing power plant emissions – both of which should also have positive health impacts for the general population.

I will share more comprehensive analyses by budget and other experts as they become available.

For more information:

Obama’s budget includes infrastructure projects, tax overhaul, Denver Post, February 2, 2015

Obama seeks $42M to deepen Savannah harbor through 2016 as project starts on Georgia’s dime Associated Press, February 2, 2015

President’s Fiscal 2016 Budget for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works released, PRN Newswire, February 2, 2015

EPA’s FY 2016 Budget Proposal Increases Support for Communities to Deliver Core Environmental and Health Protections, EPA, February 2, 2015

Obama 2016 budget urges states to cut emissions faster, Reuters, February 3, 2015