Trump’s EPA plan slashes 25% of budget, 3,000 jobs
Climate protection funding would be cut by 70 percent.
The Trump administration would slash programs aimed at slowing climate change and improving water safety and air quality, while eliminating thousands of jobs, according to a draft of the Environmental Protection Agency budget proposal.
Under the tentative plan from the Office of Management and Budget, the agency’s funding would be reduced by roughly 25 percent and about 3,000 jobs would be cut — almost a fifth of the agency’s staff.
President Donald Trump has said he plans to provide billions more dollars for the military by cutting spending on domestic agencies and departments. Trump plans to submit his budget to Congress the week of March 13.
Any final plan would be subject to congressional approval, which likely is months away at the earliest.
The EPA and the White House declined to comment.
The EPA is now under the leadership of Scott Pruitt, a former state attorney general for Oklahoma who has questioned the scientific consensus that human activities are contributing to global warming and who joined lawsuits against the agency’s emission curbs.
Proposed cuts include reducing the climate protection budget by nearly 70 percent to $29 million, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97 percent to $10 million and environmental justice programs by 79 percent to $1.5 million.
Also targeted for steep spending rollbacks are the agency’s monitoring and enforcement of compliance with environmental laws, as well as regional projects intended to benefit degraded areas such as the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.
A program dealing with San Francisco Bay that received $4.8 million last year would be eliminated, as would initiatives for reducing diesel emissions and test water quality at beaches.
Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called the proposed budget “a fantasy” that ignores the EPA’s mission to protect public health.
“It shows the Trump administration doesn’t hold the same American values for clean air, clean water and healthy land as the vast majority of its citizens,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Our health comes before the special interests of multibillion-dollar industries.”
Environmental groups said the proposed cuts would threaten thousands of jobs and could harm health and safety protections for millions of Americans.
The proposals would especially affect programs to address climate change and enforce clean air and water laws, they said.
But the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank, said the proposal didn’t go far enough.
“If Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt are serious about ending the national scandal that is EPA, they will accept nothing less than a 20 percent cut this year and make this year’s cut the first step in a five-year plan to replace the organization,” said Joseph Bast, the group’s president.
EPA staffers are upset about the budget. A Thursday all-hands meeting, organized to calm staff about the budget cuts, only created more anxiety.
The Flint Water Plant tower is seen last March in Flint, Mich., where a health crisis has followed the discovery of lead in city water. Water safety programs at the Environmental Protection Agency would be drastically reduced under an initial Trump administration budget proposal for the EPA.