UNM’s budget is at risk, and it’s not from Santa Fe this time.

President Trump and his cronies in the energy sector have the EPA in their crosshairs. While the connection to our campus isn’t obvious at first, the EPA provides funding for numerous research programs around campus, such as the College of Pharmacy’s Center for Native American Health Equity Research. The EPA has promised $1.5 million to this program, which will allow UNM, with the help of Montana State and Washington universities, continue to study the impacts of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation, Crow Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

But that’s not all. In 2016, the EPA also contributed $565,596 in funding to UNM, going to a long list of programs around campus, and it’s no stretch of the imagination that if the agency’s budget is cut by 31 percent — like President Trump is suggesting — the impact will be felt here at home.

For the last 50 years, the EPA has acted on behalf of public health and livelihood by standing up to polluters, usually with bipartisan support. President Ronald Reagan defended the EPA during his 1984 State of the Union address by saying, “Protecting the environment is not a liberal or conservative challenge, but a common sense one,” then suggested protecting the EPA, despite cutting other programs and regulations. However, now that the agency is under the control of fossil fuel advocate, climate denier and Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, the focus has shifted away from public health to private sector profits.

Congress will soon begin voting on next year’s budget, and as we come closer to these debates, we must stand in solidarity as UNM students against these attacks which would greatly reduce the EPA’s effectiveness — as well as its ability to fund research — and leave UNM’s budget up in the air yet again. So please, call Martin Heinrich, our U.S. Senator, and tell him as a UNM student, you support the EPA and hope he’ll protect its funding: (202) 224-5521.

Just do it. It’ll only take a minute.

Michael Marquez