Trump’s New Budget Cuts The EPA By 32 Percent
President Donald Trump’s budget request to Congress calls for cutting Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) funding nearly 32 percent.
EPA officials told The Daily Caller News Foundation the proposed budget, released Tuesday, prioritizes protecting air and water quality over fighting global warming, which was a key focus of the Obama administration. The budget also devolves many EPA programs to state environmental protection officials.
Trump’s plan cuts EPA’s budget to $5.7 billion from roughly $8.2 billion in 2017. The cuts include reducing grants, cutting staff, shrinking regional programs and ending “environmental justice” spending.
In total, Trump recommended cutting EPA’s budget nearly $2.6 billion.
“The President’s budget respects the American taxpayer,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a press statement. “We can protect the environment without harming the economy. This budget supports EPA’s highest priorities with federal funding for priority work in infrastructure, air and water quality, and ensuring the safety of chemicals in the marketplace.”
Trump’s budget would reduce environmental grant programs by 35 to 40 percent, while setting aside $12 million to buy out employees to reduce the agency’s workforce by 25 percent. The budget also eliminates several major regional programs, including for the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.
Environmentalists reacted to the budget with horror.
“Trump’s first budget prioritizes polluters by robbing working Americans of vital protections for their health and environment,” Ben Schreiber, Friends of the Earth’s senior political strategist, said in a press statement. “This is the budget designed by the corporate lobbyists Trump has brought into his administration to short circuit environmental protections to pad the profits of millionaires and billionaires.”
Trump pledged during his campaign to get rid of EPA “in almost every form,” leaving only “little tidbits left.” Many EPA employees were so worried about Pruitt heading the agency, they called their senators to complain.
“Slashing the budgets of agencies designed to protect the environment and public health will consign millions of Americans to unbreathable air and contaminated drinking water,” Schreiber said. “Congress should ignore Trump’s proposed budget and dedicate resources to the institutions like EPA that safeguard people and the planet.”
The EPA’s 2018 budget increases funding for loans to states and localities for water treatment infrastructure. Another program, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, will get $20 million to provide loans and up to $1 billion in credit assistance to address infrastructure problems.
Trump is also requesting EPA get another $595 million for water programs to identify drinking water contamination.
Congress’s 2017 spending bill provided $100 million to help upgrade Flint, Michigan’s water infrastructure through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Trump is asking for additional funding for Flint through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides communities with low-cost financing for water infrastructure projects.
Trump also asked Congress to appropriate $992 million for the the EPA’s Superfund cleanup program. EPA will use the savings from reducing red tape and costs to accelerate the cleanup of Superfund sites.
Congress is not expected to fully enact Trump’s budget. Congressional Democrats consider the budget to be dead on arrival while some Republicans sharply criticized his first budget. Historically, almost every presidential budget has been revised substantially by Congress.
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