Earlier today, President Donald Trump unveiled his first budget blueprint, and as predicted, he is proposing radical cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of just under a third.
The President is using the need to increase military spending by the region of $54 billion to continue his ideological assault against the EPA with a cut of $2.6 billion or 31.4 per cent.
The Agency would lose over three thousand jobs in the process, some 20 per cent of its workforce. Its research arm, which develops the science that underpins much of its health and safety work, would be cut by nearly half. Its work on climate change would be terminated.
The cuts will affect the air you breathe and water you drink. It will be a licence for Trump’s fossil fuel cronies to pollute at will. It is an assault on tens of millions of Americans and their children.
Luckily Congress will have the final say, with political resistance to some of the cuts already growing, however we have to remember we have a Republican-controlled Senate and House.
As well as the drastic cuts to the EPA, there are other cuts to environmental and health programs. According to CNN, the proposed budget:
- “Eliminates the USDA Water and Wastewater loan and grant program, a reduction of $498 million;
- Cuts $250 million by zeroing out National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants and programs that support coastal and marine management, research and education;
- Ceases payments to the United Nations’ climate change programs for the Green Climate Fund and precursor funds;
- Stops funding for the Clean Power Plan”, President Obama’s signature effort to regulate carbon dioxide from power plants.
Meanwhile the proposed budget would eliminate funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency which funds research into clean energy and the Global Climate Change Initiative. The 25-year-old Energy Star efficiency program, where consumers have saved $230 billion on utility bills, would be terminated.
In total 50 smaller environmental programs are also targeted for “outright elimination”, argues the LA Times.
The paper states bleakly: “No president in recent decades has proposed cuts to environmental protection this deep, and even the Republicans who control Congress are chafing at the prospect of so severely gutting the EPA.”
Ken Cook, from the Environmental Working Group, tells the paper: “Trump’s budget proposal would effectively cripple the EPA’s ability to do anything on behalf of public health and environmental protection, and leave local and state governments on their own in fighting climate change, water contamination, air pollution from toxic industries.”
Manish Bapna, Managing Director of the World Resources Institute, added the proposed cuts continue the Trump “administration’s shocking disregard for priorities that are critical for people’s health and the economy”.
Environmental groups are not the only ones dismayed. John O’Grady, a leading union official at the EPA, told The Washington Post, in an article entitled “Trump’s budget takes a sledgehammer to the EPA”, that the agency was “already on a starvation diet, with a bare-bones budget. The administration’s proposed budget will be akin to taking away the agency’s bread and water”.
Cynthia Giles, who led the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance during the Obama administration, also told the Post that more cuts “won’t just drastically reduce EPA enforcement, it will bring it to a halt”.