Budget cuts from the Trump administration have left the Ann Arbor, Michigan EPA lab in limbo. 436 employees fear the lab may be shut down as the current administration proposes a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s funding. In turn, this would eliminate 99 percent of the lab’s funds needed to operate, according to E&E News.
What does this Ann Arbor-based lab do? It certifies every single vehicle that is slated to go on sale in the United States to ensure emission levels are in check; 4,500 engines and vehicles pass through the facility every year to make sure the public enjoys relatively clean air.
The Trump budget proposes automakers fund the difference needed to keep the lab running—some $20 million to make up what the federal government would not provide. Currently, not a single automaker has supported the proposal, which would indicate a willingness to pay for the operations. We can’t foresee any automaker willing to shell out millions of dollars the government has been responsible for, even if they’re digging Trump’s proposed tax plan.
Only one voice has echoed calls to keep the lab open. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) delivered a stark warning at a rally to keep the EPA lab open in her home state.
“This is a national treasure in Ann Arbor,” she said. “And we will not let them destroy it.”
Time is ticking, too. The lab is funded through the rest of 2017, but the future is cloudy beyond that.