President Trump has finalized his first budget for the federal government, a blueprint that would make deep cuts in the Environmental Protection Agency and other domestic programs while significantly increasing spending on the military.
“Consistent with the President’s America First Energy Plan, the budget reorients the EPA’s air program to protect the air we breathe without unduly burdening the American economy,” a summary of the agency’s proposed budget said.
Citing a priority to cut regulations and programs that interfere with business, the budget requests $5.7 billion for the EPA – a 31 percent cut from the 2017 funding. It also asks that 3,200 positions across the agency be eliminated.
Among the programs on the chopping block, Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce greenhouse emissions from power plants, would be eliminated. Many regional restoration projects – like those for the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound – would all be eliminated from the federal budget. Popular EPA grants for state and local drinking and wastewater projects would be increased by about 20 percent, however.
Enforcement for environmental regulations, which has previously been cut 20 percent over the past eight years, would be cut an additional 31 percent – bringing it to its lowest level since the enforcement office was created in 1995.
Without stating so, the budget would also remove the U.S. from the Paris Climate Change Agreement by eliminating funds to the UN Green Climate Fund, which is central to making the Paris agreement work for smaller countries.
Adjusted for inflation, the proposed budget would cut the EPA’s overall funding to its lowest in 40 years.
Some major cuts in proposed 2018 EPA budget:
Clean Water Rule [IN REVIEW]
The rule was designed to expand the federal government’s ability to regulate pollution in 60 percent of U.S. bodies of water, including the wetlands, smaller streams and rivers that flow into larger bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay.
Brownfield sites and Superfund cleanup [-30%]
A brownfield is a property, which is contaminated by hazardous substances or pollutants. There are an estimated 450,000 Brownfield sites nationwide awaiting cleanup. Trump's budget would reduce federal funding by about 30 percent.
Enforcement and compliance [-31%]
The proposed budget would reduce EPA's funding for enforcement and compliance to federal regulation by about $129 million.
Research and development [-49%]
The proposed budget would refocus development funds to core air and water related tasks and shift away from grants related to efficiency and emissions technology.
Energy Star and other efficiency programs [ELIMINATED]
Energy Star is a voluntary program that sets efficiency and environmental standards for consumer and industrial goods. The budget would eliminate Energy Star and more than 50 other programs.
Clean Power Plan [ELIMINATED]
A major initiative by former President Obama to reduce carbon emissions from each state - most specifically from coal burning plants. Funding for this plan would be eliminated.
Beach water testing [ELIMINATED]
The EPA spends about $9.5 million to fund state testing of bacteria levels at beaches around the country. The new budget would delegate these programs to the state.
Diesel emission reduction grants [ELIMINATED]
Since 2008, the EPA has been issuing state grants to speed up transition from high emission diesel engines to more efficient and cleaner burning vehicles. Diesel soot is cancer-causing and a major air pollution source.
Great Lakes cleanup [ELIMINATED]
Funding that addresses water pollution problems in the world's largest group of freshwater lakes. This program would be eliminated.
Puget Sound [ELIMINATED]
Funds to restore the country's second-largest estuary would be cut.
Chesapeake Bay restoration [ELIMINATED]
Huge portions of the bay have been deemed uninhabitable for sea life due to industrial and agricultural runoff. Clean up and rehabilitation of the country's largest estuary. This program would be eliminated.
Historical EPA spending
At present, the EPA only accounts for about 0.2 percent of the annual federal budget. As the chart below shows, though dollar spending on the EPA has increased since 1971, when adjusted for inflation, today’s spending is about the same it was back in 1981. In addition, the EPA’s percentage of the federal budget is at its lowest since the agency began in the early 1970s.