Trump plans cuts to EPA

6th April 2017

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Jack Webster

The US Environmental Protection Agency could have its budget cut by 31%, while funding would end for the clean power plan and international climate change initiatives, including research and partnership programmes.

The US Environmental Protection Agency could have its budget cut by 31%, while funding would end for the clean power plan and international climate change initiatives, including research and partnership programmes.

The proposed reductions were set out in A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, President Trump’s preliminary 2018 budget plans. The document recommends reducing the EPA’s budget in 2018 by $2.6bn compared with 2017 and would lead to the loss of up to 3,200 jobs, more than 20% of its workforce.

The agency’s primary focus would switch to supporting states and tribes to protect air, land and water. According to the document, the cuts are designed to help to achieve the president’s priority of easing the ‘burden of federal regulations that impose significant costs for workers and consumers without justifiable environmental benefits’.

Discontinuing funding for the clean power plan, the Obama administration’s policy to combat anthropogenic global warming by regulating emissions from power plants, and international climate change programmes would save more than $100m. It is consistent with the president’s America First energy plan and reorients the EPA to protecting the air without ‘unduly burdening the American economy’, states the document.

Overall, the proposals eliminate more than 50 agency initiatives, including Energy Star, the energy efficiency scheme, and the endocrine disruptor screening programme. Funding will end for large-scale clean-up initiatives for the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House office of management and budget, said: ‘The president wants a smaller agency. He thinks they overreach, and the budget reflects that.’

NGOs criticised the proposals. ‘Slashing the EPA’s overall budget by more than a third means the agency cannot adequately enforce our clean air and clean water safeguards,’ said Margie Alt, executive director of Environment America. ‘It is basically a “get out of jail free card” for polluters.’

Meanwhile, the EPA is withdrawing a request for owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry to provide information on equipment and emissions. It has also said it plans to revisit the previous administration’s standards to raise fuel economy to the equivalent of 87.7 pkm for cars and light-duty trucks by 2025. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt claimed the standards were costly for automakers and the American people.

The Trump budget recommendations must be endorsed by Congress.


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