Oil Change International

Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels

Environmental Protection Agency to be “Sledgehammered” in Budget

C: Gage Skidmore

C: Gage Skidmore

As the White House prepares to announce its first full budget later today, as predicted the Environmental Protection Agency and other measures to protect the nation’s air, water and health, are firmly in Trump’s sights.

The Washington Post is reporting that “Trump is making good on his promise to take a sledgehammer to the agency” and that the “EPA will fare worse than any other federal agency.”

Trump and his fossil fuel cronies want to gut the Agency by reducing its spending by over 31 per cent, to $5.65 billion.

The President’s budget would also see sweeping cuts to major regional programs, including those restoring the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, as well as the EPA’s lead risk-reduction program.

The Post is reporting: “Dozens of other programs also would be zeroed out entirely, including funding for radon detection, lead risk reduction, projects along the U.S.-Mexico border and environmental justice initiatives. The agency would have significantly less money for enforcement of environmental crimes and for research into climate change and other issues.”

Categorical grants, which support state and efforts to reduce pollution and the Superfund clean up program would also be severely affected.

With the EPA gutted to the bone, it will be up to states to look after America’s air and water.

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, told the Post: “This isn’t a budget — it’s a road map for the President, EPA Administrator Pruitt and polluters to see that millions of Americans drink dirtier water, breathe more polluted air and don’t have enough nutritious food to lead healthy lives

In all, Trump’s budget, entitled “A New Foundation for American Greatness,attacks the healthcare and food assistance programs targetting the poor, the vulnerable, students, and the disabled. Over $800 billion would be cut from Medicaid for the poor and over $192 billion from food stamps.

People are going to starve and people are going to die, but you would not believe it by the way the Administration is spinning the news. “This is, I think, the first time in a long time that an administration has written a budget through the eyes of the people who are actually paying the taxes,” argues Mick Mulvaney, Mr. Trump’s budget director.

But the budget is written through the eyes of the oil industry.

As the Times noted a couple of days ago, in relation to the EPA, Trump is trying to “fundamentally reorder the relationship between government and business. Across the federal government, lobbyists and lawyers who once battled regulations on behalf of business are now helping run the agencies they clashed with.”

But, the paper warned: “In the energy field, environmentalists, Democrats and even some in the industry fear the efforts will backfire, harming health and safety without creating much economic benefit.”

The budget will also be music to the ears of the nuclear industry: The Department of Energy will receive a huge boost to develop nuclear and nuclear weapons, whereas all other energy programs will be cut by eighteen per cent. This means programs to help low income families invest in energy efficiency will be badly hit.

But Trump may not have it all his own way.

Even Republicans are resisting the proposed radical changes. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) warned yesterday that Trump’s budget would be a “non-stater on Capitol Hill”.

 

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