- The House Appropriations Committee this week approved the 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, setting funding at $31.4 billion — more than $800 million below this year's enacted level, but $4.3 billion above the President’s budget request.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's budget would drop from $8 billion this year to about $7.5 billion, but nowhere near the White House plan to slash its funding 31%.
- The Energy Star program would be saved, despite President Trump's proposal to defund it. The House measure would fund at $31 million, a roughly 40% cut according to the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE).
The White House budget had proposed slashing the EPA's budget by $2.6 billion to $5.7 billion. In that light, $500 million doesn't seem so bad, but the cuts still have critics.
"A cut of this magnitude endangers our nation's natural and cultural resources," said Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn), according to E&E News. "Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency is hardest hit by the cuts recommended in this bill."
Supporters, however, say the cuts are needed to reign in an agency that has gotten out of hand.
"The committee’s vigorous oversight has identified opportunities to rein in the federal bureaucracy and to stop many harmful and unnecessary regulations that destroy economic opportunity and hinder job creation,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said in a statement.
Cutting back on regulations and boosting the fossil fuel sector was a major campaign platform of President Trump's. The EPA will also cut some agency expenses through a staff reduction. The agency plans to make buyout offers to more than 1,200 employees, and of those, more than 650 work in the agency's headquarters.
The EPA's Office of Research and Development will offer the most buyouts at about 180.
While the House measure rejected cutting the popular Energy Star program, critics say the 40% cut will have a big impact. More than 90% of Americans know the brand; nearly half own an Energy Star-rated appliance, and 16,000 companies voluntarily participate, according to ASE.
“We appreciate that the committee has rejected the administration's proposal to eliminate Energy Star, but a 40 percent cut would be crippling as well," ASE President Kateri Callahan said in a statement.