President Donald Trump plans to cut 31 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s funding, doing away with the agency’s climate change initiatives and cutting back on clean air and water programs, according to budget information released Thursday.
The proposal would cut $2.5 billion from the EPA’s budget, decreasing its funding from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion, according to the Washington Post.
The cut eliminates 3,200 of the EPA’s roughly 15,000 employees and undoes much of the Obama-era efforts to address climate change, such as the Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, said in 2015 that the CPP “would impose severe and disproportionate economic burdens on poor families, especially minorities.”
According to a study commissioned by the NBCC, the Clean Power Plan would disproportionately impact black and Hispanic Americans, boosting their energy costs by 16 percent and 19 percent, respectively, by 2025.
The proposed 2018 budget, Reuters reported, is aimed at cutting away the regulations Trump believes are hurting U.S. businesses, namely in the oil and coal industries. In total, the cuts to climate change initiatives — though just a starting point that could be adjusted — would slash roughly $100 million from the EPA’s funding.
“You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it. So, I guess the first place that comes to mind will be the Environmental Protection Agency,” Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters Thursday. “The president wants a smaller EPA. He thinks they overreach, and the budget reflects that.”
The proposal would also cut around $427 million from regional pollution clean-up programs, like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ($40 million) and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Initiative ($14 million). Responsibility for those efforts would be turned over to state and regional governments.
“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 reads.
Trump’s budget would also slash the EPA’s enforcement division, which fines companies for pollution, by 31 percent, doing away with dozens of programs, such as the Energy Star appliance efficiency program aimed at reducing energy consumption.
The conservative Club for Growth was quick to praise the budget proposal. The organization’s president, David McIntosh, said in a statement that the cuts signal the dismantling of overreaching programs that have “built the federal government into an industry on the backs of taxpayers.”
“The Trump Administration’s budget blueprint begins the much-needed work of making major cuts in agencies like the EPA,” McIntosh said. “[P]resident Trump and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney are showing the political will to take the axe to many bloated and unnecessary programs.”
“We hope Congress will follow suit, and that this is just the start of an ongoing effort to truly cut the size and scope of the federal government,” he said.