Thursday, March 02, 2017

White House proposes cutting EPA budget by 25%, employees by 20% and eliminating 38 programs

The Trump administration has proposed reducing the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by 25 percent, employees by 20 percent and eliminating dozens of programs, Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report for The Washington Post. EPA in fiscal year 2016 had 15,376 employees and a budget of more than $8.1 billion, according to EPA data. The federal budget for 2016 was $3.54 trillion, reports InsideGov.

A White House plan obtained by the Post calls for reducing EPA's' budget to $6.1 billion and cutting staff to 12,000, reports the Post. Because much of the funding "already goes to states and localities in the form of grants, such cuts could have an even more significant effect on the EPA’s core functions. Grants to states, as well as its air and water programs, would be cut by 30 percent. The massive Chesapeake Bay cleanup project would receive only $5 million in the next fiscal year, down from its current $73 million."

"In addition, 38 separate programs would be eliminated entirely. Grants to clean up brownfields, or abandoned industrial sites, would be gone," reports the Post. "Also zeroed out: the radon program, climate change initiatives and funding for Alaskan native villages. The agency’s Office of Research and Development could lose up to 42 percent of its budget, according to an individual apprised of the administration’s plans. And the document eliminates funding altogether for the office’s “contribution to the U.S. Global Change Research Program,” a climate initiative that President George H.W. Bush launched in 1989."

The main reason for the cuts is that Trump is seeking a $54 billion increase in military spending, reports the Post. The White House doscument said: “The administration’s 2018 budget blueprint will prioritize rebuilding the military and making critical investments in the nation’s security. It will also identify the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path.”

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