President Trump is poised to make good his campaign pronouncement to reverse former Democrat President Barack Obama's climate change initiatives as the Republican leader has been skeptical of the validity of climate change. The Trump administration has also consistently said that it would increase defense spending for the much-needed military build-up and to make that possible, budgets of other agencies and non-priority programs have to be slashed including the Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA).
And now the White House is set to make the adjustments with the EPA budget as it is proposing to cut its budget by a quarter, specifically targeting climate-change programs and those designed to prevent air and water pollution like lead contamination.
A 23-page 2018 budget proposal reveals that the administration plans to slice the EPA's overall budget by 23% to $6.1 billion and also staffing by 20% to 12,400. Such adjustments in the environmental regulator's budget are aimed at benefitting the broader effort to increase military spending. The budget cut would affect programs like climate protection, environmental justice and enforcement.
Under the new budget proposal which was sent to the EPA this week, grants to states for lead cleanup would be cut 30% to $9.8 million. Grants to help Native America tribes fight pollution would be slashed as well by 30% to $45.8 million. An EPA climate protection program on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like methane that contribute to global warming would have to contend with a cut of 70% to $29 million.
The 2018 budget proposal would also cut funding for the brownfields site clean up program by 42% to 147 million. It could also reduce funding for enforcing pollution laws by 11% to $153 million. The new proposal, however, spared from budget cuts the state revolving funds for programs that Congress tapped last year to give aid to Flint, Michigan for its lead pollution crisis.
Global Change Research staff along with 37 other programs will face cuts, too, under the new proposal.
Despite White House's plans of drastic budget cuts on such programs, Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA, however assured U.S. mayors on Thursday that he would give priority to industrial and hazardous waste sites clean-ups and would improve water infrastructure.