Reports: Trump budget would cut EPA funding by a quarter, targeting enforcement activities
- An early budget document from President Trump would slash funding at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by about 25%, according to media reports, and would consider laying off about 20% of the agency's workforce.
- The reductions would reportedly not affect EPA grants to state, local and tribal governments, which account for about 40% of the agency budget, meaning deeper cuts could be in store for EPA enforcement efforts, Bloomberg reports.
- Environmentalists say they do not believe the EPA would be able to deliver on its core mission of protecting the nation's air, water and health under the proposed budget reductions.
A day ahead of President Trump's first address to Congress, sources told Politico and Bloomberg that the cuts being considered at the EPA would reduce funding to levels last seen in the early 1990s, and staffing would be pared back to the agency's size in the mid-1980s.
Politico reports the agency's budget would be cut from $8.1 billion to $6.1 billion. Sierra Club Policy Director John Coequy said it appears the White House's plan is to leave in place state and local grant programs.
That could mean that EPA's funding to enforce federal environmental laws, already tight, could see deep reductions.
"We have real doubts that can be done without substantially weakening the ability of EPA to respond to environmental problems and to carry out its core functions that are all established in law," Coequy told Bloomberg.
The newly-confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was one of the leading voices against federal environmental regulation in his time as attorney general of Oklahoma, suing the EPA 14 times. He declined to give any details on budget cuts in a public appearance Saturday.
The budget news also comes as the Trump administration is preparing to release slate of executive orders to cancel the Clean Power Plan and rules governing coal leasing and production. Recent energy modeling forecasts repealing the CPP could cost up to $600 billion by 2030 and allow coal to regain its top spot in the nation's generation mix.
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