“Featherbedders” Complaining as President Trump Slashes EPA Budget
The Trump Administration announced it will slash programs aimed at slowing climate change and improving water safety and air quality, while eliminating thousands of jobs, according to a draft of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget proposal.
Under the plan from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the agency’s funding would be reduced by roughly 25% and about 3,000 jobs would be cut, 20% of the agency’s staff.
US President Donald Trump has said he plans to pay for billions of dollars more for the military by cutting spending on domestic agencies and departments.
President Trump plans to submit his budget to Congress the week of 13 March.
A spokeswoman for the EPA declined to comment.
The White House also declined to comment.
The EPA is now under the leadership of Scott Pruitt, a former state attorney general for Oklahoma, who has questioned the scientific consensus that human activities are contributing to global warming and joined lawsuits against the agency’s emission curbs.
The Trump Administration would cut funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by 17%. The scientific agency, which is part of the Commerce Department, studies changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts.
The draft proposal for the EPA would cut its annual budget from about $8.2 to $6.1-B. Proposed cuts include reducing the climate protection budget by nearly 70% to $29-M, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97% to $10% and environmental justice programs by 79% to $1.5%.
Environmental groups said the proposed cuts will threaten thousands of jobs and could harm health and safety protections for millions of Americans. The proposals would especially affect programs to address climate change and enforce clean air and water laws, they said.
But the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank, said the proposal didn’t go far enough.
“If Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt are serious about ending the national scandal that is EPA, they will accept nothing less than a 20% cut this year and make this year’s cut the 1st step in a 5-year plan to replace the organization,” said the group’s president.
EPA staffers are upset about the budget. A Thursday all-hands meeting, organized to calm staff about the budget cuts, only created more anxiety.
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