Monday, April 03, 2017

Trump budget calls for 25% cut in EPA staff, elimination of 56 programs

Proposed EPA cuts (Post chart; click on it for larger version)
The Environmental Protection Agency would cut staff by 25 percent and eliminate 56 programs, according to a new document that details the agency's 31-percent budget cut ordered by President Trump, The Washington Post reports. EPA's budget would be cut from $8.2 billion in 2017 to $5.7 billion in 2018.

"The Trump administration says the EPA cuts reflect a philosophy of limiting federal government and devolving authority to the states, localities and, in some cases, corporations. But environmental groups say the Trump administration is answering the call of companies seeking lax regulation and endangering Americans’ air and water," Juliet Eilperin, Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson report.

"Reductions in research funds will curtail programs on climate change, water quality, and chemical safety, and 'safe and sustainable water resources,'" the reporters write. "Ken Kopocis, who headed EPA’s Office of Water in 2014 and 2015, said in an interview that the $165 million proposed cut to the agency’s non-point source pollution program would deprive farmers of critical funds to help curb agricultural runoff."

The Post adds, "A program to teach and monitor the proper handling of pesticides would be nearly eliminated, and instead rely fees paid by the industry. The budget document also proposes the elimination of regional programs focused on restoring watersheds and coastal and marine habitats," including programs for the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes. The administrator’s Science Advisory Board budget also would be cut 84 percent due to "an anticipated lower number of peer reviews."

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