Overnight Energy: Trump unveils 2020 budget | Plan slashes funds for EPA, Interior and Energy | Interior request highlights border security

Overnight Energy: Trump unveils 2020 budget | Plan slashes funds for EPA, Interior and Energy | Interior request highlights border security
© Greg Nash

Welcome back to Monday and Overnight Energy, The Hill's roundup of the latest energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow me on Twitter: @mirandacgreen, @thehill.

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We're back from vacation, and just in time to break down President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE's new fiscal 2020 budget proposal. Let's get to it.


TRUMP PROPOSES SLASHING EPA BUDGET BY 31 PERCENT: President Trump on Monday proposed significant budget cuts to the government agencies responsible for overseeing the nation's energy and environmental policies, including a 31 percent reduction in spending at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The fiscal 2020 budget proposal to Congress marks the latest effort by the administration to slash funding for science and enforcement programs.

The biggest proposed cuts among the three major energy and environment agencies would take place at the EPA, where former energy lobbyist Andrew Wheeler recently took over as the top administrator after being confirmed by the Senate.

The budget for the agency tasked with enforcing environmental regulations would plummet to $6.1 billion, a decrease of 31 percent, under the White House spending blueprint.

"This commonsense budget proposal would support the agency as it continues to work with states, tribes and local governments to protect human health and the environment," Wheeler said in a statement Monday. "I am proud of the tremendous progress that EPA and its partners have made in cleaning our nation's air, water and land, and I am looking forward to continuing this progress through FY 2020."


"Focusing on the core mission makes EPA a better steward of taxpayer dollars and promotes operational efficiencies that enhance the Agency's Performance," the White House added in its request to Congress.

Overall, the administration proposes eliminating more than $650 million in programs and activities compared to current funding levels.

The proposed reductions at EPA are in line with the steep cuts -- about 25 percent -- that the White House's Office of Management and Budget proposed for the agency for fiscal 2019, which began Oct. 1. The year before that, the administration proposed cuts that exceeded 30 percent.

But don't forget: Lawmakers have declined to enact most of Trump's previous funding requests, and it's unlikely that drastic EPA cuts will be enacted by Congress this year, especially since Democrats are now in the majority in the House. But the blueprint provides insight into the administration's priorities.

Read more on EPA's budget request here.


INTERIOR BUDGET REQUEST HIGHLIGHTS BORDER PUSH: The Trump administration on Monday called for cutting the Interior Department's funding by 14 percent, but the budget request also highlighted the agency's increasing role in providing U.S. border security.

The White House's newly released fiscal 2020 budget request seeks a reduction in grants and funds for acquiring land, while at the same time boosting Interior's efforts to become a bigger player in securing the southern border.

"The Department of the Interior manages hundreds of miles along the U.S. southern border, and our law enforcement officers are vested partners in the Administration's border security efforts," the Interior Department wrote in its budget overview.

President Trump's budget calls for providing $930.3 million in law enforcement funding for programs like the one started under former Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Overnight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule MORE in 2018 that rotates U.S. Park Police and National Park Service (NPS) officers to the border to engage in border and drug enforcement.

The budget blueprint presents the contentious initiative as being integral to Trump's border security surge. More than 12 million acres managed by the Interior Department are within 50 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, according to Interior. Managed lands also include 75 border miles on tribal lands.

"Interior has been cooperating for more than a year with Department of Homeland Security on the southern border. Our emphasis has been to take care of our land," said Scott Cameron, Interior's acting assistant secretary of policy, management and budget, on a call with reporters Monday.

According to a breakdown of Interior's budget proposal, the pilot border program, first reported by The Hill in May, led to the apprehension of more than 6,000 people said to be in the country illegally and the seizure of thousands of pounds of drugs.

"The 2020 budget helps foster safe and drug-free communities by increasing funding for law enforcement," Interior wrote in its budget breakdown.

Background: The U.S. Park Police Planning Unit and NPS first announced they would be sending 22 officers from both agencies to assist U.S. Border Patrol as part of "Secretary [Ryan] Zinke's offer of assistance to the Department of Homeland Security." At the time, officers were relegated to two areas operated by the Interior Department -- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona and Amistad National Recreation Area in Texas.

Critics blasted the initiative at the time, saying officers were not meant to apprehend immigrants crossing the border illegally and were badly needed at their designated parks.

Park Police officers typically provide security for NPS property around Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco.

Read more on the Interior budget proposoal here.


Other cuts worth mentioning...

Over at the Department of Energy, the White House budget requests $31.7 billion, an 11 percent decrease from current funding.


The White House budget request also seeks to slash other key science and renewable areas, including a repeal of the tax credit for electric vehicles. Other cuts to the Department of Energy include well-known clean energy research and development grant programs such as ARPA-E.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for monitoring weather systems and oceanic temperatures, would see its funding cut under Trump's proposed budget, with the recommended elimination of the Sea Grant, Coastal Zone Management Grants and Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.



The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife will hold an oversight hearing on the state of wildlife on Tuesday. Topics likely to be discussed include the Trump administration's recent rule to delist gray wolves, attempts to roll back Endangered Species Act protections, and how drilling on public land affects wildlife.

That same day, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, will hold a hearing to examine the policies and priorities for the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, and the Power Marketing Administrations. Democrats are expected to ask about the Trump administration's environmental rollbacks and prioritization of fossil fuel extraction on public lands.




Egypt looks to offshore gas field for growth and influence, The New York Times reports

Oil prices rise as Saudi Arabia signals near-term crude output reductions, Marketwatch reports

UK to get 30 percent of electricity from offshore wind by 2030, Greentech media reports



Check out stories from Monday and over the weekend...

-Interior budget request highlights border push

-Trump proposes slashing EPA budget by 31 percent

-Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change

-California saw worst year of wildfires ever in 2018, federal report says