As a resident of Maine, the mom of a daughter with asthma and a soil scientist by training, I know that clean air cannot be taken for granted. The tremendous progress we have made cleaning up our state’s air in the last half-century shows that strong environmental safeguards against pollution are effective. They help protect the health of children like my daughter, for whom air pollution can trigger an asthma flare-up.

Now, even with decades of science to support the importance of regulations, President Trump wants to decimate funding for federal environmental protections. Trump has proposed slashing the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency – the agency tasked with protecting Americans’ health from pollution – by nearly a third.

If enacted, the EPA would be severely crippled. Its budget would drop to its lowest point since 1976 (adjusting for inflation), and more than 50 entire programs would be eliminated. It would hinder states’ abilities to address polluted air and water by slashing funds that support local efforts to monitor drinking water, clean up toxic waste and reduce smog. Polluting companies would be free to line their pockets at the expense of our kids’ health.

Dirty air does not stop at state lines. In Maine, these budget cuts will harm our children. Mainers have the EPA to thank for ensuring that our state is protected from other states’ unsafe air pollution. In fact, smog-forming pollution from fossil-fueled power plants west of Maine drifts into our state. Our children then breathe in the powerful lung irritant, which interferes with normal lung development and triggers asthma attacks. By setting and enforcing limits on smog and other dangerous air pollutants, the EPA is preventing asthma attacks, birth defects, respiratory and cardiovascular disease and cancer. To add insult to injury, Trump’s proposed budget includes a 24 percent cut to enforcement, eliminating funding to pursue cases when power plants violate laws that reduce dangerous emissions in Maine’s communities. Preventing pollution from drifting across state lines requires enforcement, plain and simple.

Maine has some of the highest rates of asthma in the country. This past year, the American Lung Association gave my home county of Cumberland a “D” grade for harmful ozone, better known as smog. I can recall two “code orange” days within the last year. On these days, it is recommended that children like my daughter, who have asthma, should remain inside. The EPA is providing benefits to the 24,800 children in Maine diagnosed with asthma like my daughter. In combating air pollution, the EPA is a life-saving force whose contributions are all too easy to take for granted.

Let us not forget that Americans did not vote for an agenda that gives breaks to polluters and dismantles lifesaving protections for clean air, healthy water and safe food. Americans are not happy about the Trump administration and the unprecedented assault on important public health protections by Congress. In fact, three out of five American voters disapprove of how the Trump administration is handling environmental issues. And nearly three out of four voters say it would be a “bad idea” to cut funding for climate change research and education. But that’s exactly what this administration has proposed doing. Instead of working diligently to protect American families, President Trump is putting polluters’ profits over the interests of people.

When we devalue clean air and good health, every American gets a raw deal.

Everyone deserves clean air to breathe and water to drink, no matter who they voted for last November. That is why I am urging our elected officials to oppose President Trump’s unconscionable budget cuts to the EPA. You, too – as a constituent in Maine – can push them to stand up for public health and for the EPA. We should do so as if our children’s health depends on it – because it does.