Trump’s Budget Puts EPA Funding On The Chopping Block

The proposal also erases funding for the agency’s climate change initiatives including its signature Clean Power Plan.

President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal is in, and it’s bad news for a number of agencies in the federal government.

No agency could feel the pain more than the Environmental Protection Agency, which is facing a 31 funding cut under the current proposal. All told, 3,200 EPA employees — 19 percent of its workforce — could see their positions eliminated if the budget passes as is. The proposal also erases funding for the agency’s climate change initiatives including its signature Clean Power Plan.

Other EPA programs on the chopping block include its Energy Star appliance efficiency program, which is designed to reduce U.S. energy consumption. The EPA’s enforcement division, which levies fines for pollution, is facing a 31 percent cut. 

According a report in Reuters, Trump’s budget director said that the EPA’s mission and core functions could still be satisfied under the current proposal.

Trump’s budget would also eliminate the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the agency charged with investigating chemical accidents and making recommendations for safety improvements.

The CSB is an independent federal agency established under the Clean Air Act of 1990. Its 2016 budget request was $12.271 million. Last year, the agency had at least six open investigations, including the 2015 Exxon Mobil Refinery Explosion in Torrance, Calif. Some of the agencies more notable investigations include the BP Deepwater Horizon spill and the 2014 Tesoro Refinery explosion. 

In a statement, the CSB’s chairperson, Vanessa Sutherland, said, “The CSB is disappointed to see the president’s budget proposal to eliminate the agency. Our recommendations have resulted in banned natural gas blows in Connecticut, an improved fire code in New York City, and increased public safety at oil and gas sites across the State of Mississippi. The CSB has been able to accomplish all of this with a small and limited budget.”

Overall, the budget proposal cuts $54 billion from discretionary programs. It entirely stops funding for 19 agencies including the CSB, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Legal Services Corporation.

The budget could face major changes as it works its way through Congressional negotiations before it has to be passed in October. 

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