Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump Budget Would Cut E.P.A. Science Programs and Slash Cleanups

Since the states that get back more taxes than they send to Washington tend to be poor and Republican, and those that send more than they get back tend to be Democratic, this might hurt Trump's voters and help his opponents.


President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal would cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Science and Technology nearly in half, while paring by 40 percent funding for E.P.A. employees who oversee and put in place environmental regulations, according to a White House document that was shared with The New York Times.

And while the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, has vowed to prioritize the agency’s cleanup of hazardous waste sites, the president would cut funding for the program, known as Superfund, by about 25 percent. And spending for a program to restore former industrial sites contaminated by pollution, another stated priority of the administrator, would shrink by about 36 percent.

Those cuts are part of an overall E.P.A. budget reduction of about 30 percent, as outlined originally in March, when the White House unveiled the top-line budget requests for the fiscal year that begins in October. The agency’s budget would drop to $5.7 billion — its lowest level in 40 years, adjusted for inflation — from its current $8.2 billion.


Mr. Trump has made clear that he wants to increase military spending by 10 percent, and spend more on the border with Mexico, including building a wall. He would also not touch the largest drivers of the budget deficit, Medicare and Social Security.

To do all of that, deliver what he has called the largest tax cut in the nation’s history and make good on his campaign pledge to balance the budget, virtually every other aspect of government would have to be significantly cut back. Those cuts would hit the E.P.A. especially hard.

The proposed cuts to the agency charged with protecting the nation’s environment and public health appear explicitly aimed at slowing or stopping some of its ability to regulate several forms of pollution, including the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. The proposed reductions would carry out Mr. Trump’s campaign pledges to drastically reduce the size and scope of the E.P.A., and his subsequent push to roll back major Obama-era environmental regulations.


Republicans on Capitol Hill are unlikely to approve reductions at the levels envisioned by the White House.

Last year, the House spending subcommittee that controls the E.P.A.’s budget proposed funding the agency at $8 billion, cutting just $291 million from President Barack Obama’s request.


Among the few state-level programs it would leave intact is a $20 million revolving fund to help states and communities build safer water infrastructure, a program aimed at helping municipalities prevent disasters like the lead contamination crisis that sickened thousands in Flint, Mich.

But the proposed budget would eliminate all spending on nearly a dozen state-level programs aimed at researching and protecting local watershed ecosystems, including programs on the Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Champlain, Lake Pontchartrain and Puget Sound.

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