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:
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.