Trump to propose 24 percent cut in EPA spending: reports

Trump to propose 24 percent cut in EPA spending: reports
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The Trump administration plans to propose a one-forth cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget, a plan that would end up laying off 20 percent of the agency’s staffers, according to reports. 

Trump officials will propose a $6.1 billion budget for the EPA next year, a $2 billion cut from current levels, according to reports in E&E News and Politico, citing sources. 

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The agency’s staffing levels would fall to 12,000 workers, from 15,000 currently, according to the reports. 

An EPA spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill. 

The proposed spending levels at the EPA come on the day the White House sent spending blueprints to federal agencies ahead of a budget rollout next month. Trump is planning a $54 billion cut in domestic discretionary spending, which would then be used to increase spending for the Defense Department. 

The Trump administration has said it plans to target EPA climate programs expanded under President Obama. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this weekend that he would work to end several regulatory efforts that the agency has in the works.

If the EPA cuts are realized, the agency’s budget would be at its lowest level since the early 1990s, and its staffing levels would be lower than any time since the 1980s. 

It’s unclear if Congress will be willing to accept cuts as deep as those Trump is set to propose for the EPA. 

The House Appropriations Committee in 2015 sought to cut the agency’s funding by $718 million, an amount far smaller than the White House will propose. 

Environmentalists on Monday slammed proposed deep cuts to the agency, indicating a major push from greens and advocacy groups to keep EPA funding as intact as possible. Democrats are also likely to oppose the effort.