What is happening with the EPA?
Trump is keeping his promise to crush the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), beginning with a devastating 31% budget cut. The decision puts nearly 4,000 jobs at risk, and will dramatically reduce or eliminate dozens of restoration projects and clean air and water programs.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is supporting the decision, stating “The president’s budget respects the American taxpayer. This budget supports EPA’s highest priorities with federal funding for priority work in infrastructure, air and water quality, and ensuring the safety of chemicals in the marketplace.”
In stark contrast to the Obama Administration, neither Pruitt nor Trump acknowledge reducing carbon emissions as a “core” responsibility of the EPA. According to the Associated Press, “Both have called for increased fossil fuel production while expressing doubt about the scientific consensus that man-made carbon emissions are the primary driver of global warming.”
Despite Pruitt calling Superfund (aka CERCLA— Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) a “top priority”, the cause stands to lose $330 million in funding. The current budget for Superfund is roughly half of what it was back in the 1990’s, and this cut will bring it down further to a sparsely $762 million.
Trump may face his biggest challenge in attempting to eliminate restoration projects. Cleaning up the Great Lakes especially has received bipartisan support for years. The plan would withdraw $427 million from regional restoration projects, including the Puget Sound, Chesapeake Bay, and other iconic national water bodies.
Science and technology programs will be reduced by 38% according to budget proposals, and categorical grants for State’s environmental initiatives will be halved. Lead and radon detection will suffer, along with funding for defense against heavy agrochemical use and pesticide remediation to protect the ecosystem. Pruitt recently greenlighted a highly toxic insecticide which then poisoned dozens of California farmworkers.
“This proposal would guarantee more children will suffer life-threatening asthma attacks and be forced to drink water polluted with pesticides and other toxic chemicals,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. “It is crystal clear that for President Trump, public health protection is not a priority, but a target.”
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