People, Environment

Trump Takes Meat Axe to Climate Projects

Trump Takes Meat Axe to Climate ProjectsTrump Takes Meat Axe to Climate Projects

The administration of US Donald Trump will slash programs aimed at slowing climate change and improving water safety and air quality, while eliminating thousands of jobs, according to a draft of the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget proposal.

Under the tentative plan from the Office of Management and Budget, the agency’s funding would be reduced by roughly 25% and about 3,000 jobs would be cut, about 19% of the agency’s staff, AP reported.

Trump has said he plans to pay for billions of dollars more for the military by cutting spending on domestic agencies and departments.

A spokeswoman for the EPA declined to comment, but a top official said in an internal memo that EPA leaders “will do everything in our power to protect our ability to support the mission of the agency in protecting human health and the environment”.

Donna Vizian said she could not verify media accounts, but said any proposed cuts were just the start of a lengthy budget process. A final plan is subject to congressional approval, which likely is months away at the earliest.

The EPA is now under the leadership of Scott Pruitt, a former state attorney general for Oklahoma, who has questioned the scientific consensus that human activities are contributing to global warming and in the past joined lawsuits against the agency’s emission curbs.

The Trump administration also would cut funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by 17%, according to a report by The Washington Post on Friday. The scientific agency studies changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts.

The draft proposal would cut EPA’s annual budget from about $8.2 billion to $6.1 billion. Proposed cuts include reducing the climate protection budget by nearly 70% to $29 million, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative by 97% to $10 million and environmental justice programs by 79% to $1.5 million.

Also targeted for steep spending rollbacks are the agency’s monitoring and enforcement of compliance with environmental laws, as well as regional projects intended to benefit degraded areas. Some programs such as initiatives for reducing diesel emissions and beach water quality testing would be eliminated.

Former EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy, called the proposed budget “a fantasy” that ignores the EPA’s mission to protect public health.


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