Trump seeks to cut EPA budget 31%

President Trump proposes slashing the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual budget by 31%, focusing the department on core legal requirements, the role of states in implementing environmental laws, and easing “unnecessary” federal regulations that impose significant costs without justifiable environmental benefits.

The President’s 2018 budget requests $5.7 billion for the EPA, a savings of $2.6 billion.

The White House’s proposed 2018 budget for the agency comes as Trump seeks to cut regulations he believes are hobbling U.S. businesses. The proposed cuts are a starting point in negotiations with Congress, Kallanish Energy reports.

The proposal would eliminate 3,200 EPA employees, or 19% of the current workforce, and cut funding for former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

It would also eliminate climate change research and international climate change programs. Together, the cuts to climate change initiatives at the agency would eliminate roughly $100 million in spending.

“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.

EPA budget reins in Superfund administrative costs and emphasizes efficiency efforts by funding the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account at $762 million, $330 million below the 2017 level.

“The agency would prioritize the use of existing settlement funds to clean up hazardous waste sites and look for ways to remove some of the barriers that have delayed the program’s ability to return sites to the community,” the budget states.

The proposed EPA budget cuts $427 million to regional pollution cleanup programs, including in the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. Funding for the Superfund program to clean up the nation’s most contaminated sites would drop by $330 million, to $762 million.

Trump’s proposal would also cut the budget for the EPA’s enforcement division, which fines companies for pollution, by 31%, and axe dozens of other programs aimed at reducing U.S. energy consumption.

The budget eliminates more than 50 EPA programs, saving an additional $347 million compared to the 2017 level.

“Lower priority and poorly performing programs and grants are not funded, nor are duplicative functions that can be absorbed into other programs or that are state and local responsibilities,” the budget states.

One area that would see a small boost is for State Revolving Funds, low-interest loans for investments in water and sanitation infrastructure. The budget would add $4 million to the funds, bringing its budget up to $100 million.