Trump proposes deep cuts to EPA, federal climate funding

Trump proposes deep cuts to EPA, federal climate funding
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President Trump’s first budget proposal includes a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of an administration effort to slash federal climate change funding. 

The budget blueprint, released on Thursday, provides $5.7 billion for the EPA, down from $8.3 billion. The budget “discontinues” $100 million in funding for several climate change programs within the agency, including enforcement for a major Obama-era climate regulation, climate change research and international climate change support.

Trump’s budget slashes funding for industrial waste cleanup through the Superfund program. It also passes along deep cuts to research and development work, the EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Office, and state grant programs, and it eliminates funding for region-specific environmental work for areas such as the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. 

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In all, the budget “eliminates more than 50 EPA programs, saving an additional $347 million” over current levels, and would end 3,200 of the agency’s 15,000 jobs. 

Trump’s budget is only a proposal, and Congress is tasked with writing the actual appropriations bills that fund the government. Lawmakers are likely to take issue with several of his EPA plans and allow for spending for the agency above what Trump wants. 

The Superfund program, for instance, is popular with members, and region-specific cuts will draw objections from members who represent those areas. 

The EPA has absorbed a 20 percent cut since 2010, and some Republican appropriators — even those who oppose the agency’s climate change work — have already raised concerns about the size and breadth of Trump’s proposal. 

The administration says the budget "reflects the success of environmental protection efforts, a focus on core legal requirements, the important role of the states in implementing the nation’s environmental laws, and the president’s priority to ease the burden of unnecessary federal regulations that impose significant costs for workers and consumers without justifiable environmental benefits." 

In all, the EPA was one of the federal departments hardest hit by Trump’s budget. But he takes aim at climate change and energy research in other parts of his government. 

The proposal would eliminate several State Department climate programs, including funding for the Global Climate Change Initiative and American contributions to international climate change accounts. 

The Department of Energy absorbs a $1.7 billion cut, or 5.6 percent, as it eliminates funding for advanced energy and vehicle research. It “focuses” funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and other energy research agencies. 

The Interior Department, which sees a 12 percent cut in the budget, receives higher funding for energy development on public lands. Cuts to the agency focus on abandoned mine cleanup grants and land acquisition programs.  

Trump proposes trimming the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Earth science budget by $102 million, ending missions that observe the Earth’s oceans and carbon dioxide levels.

The budget as a whole includes deep domestic spending cuts while increasing defense spending by $54 billion.