“Over the past four and a half decades, presidents from both parties have furthered environmental protections designed to keep the American people safe and healthy. But President Trump and the Republican‑led Congress are poised to wipe out these essential safeguards.”
Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
President Trump released the fiscal 2019 budget on February 12 and it’s a doozy for the environment.
The analysis will continue, but here are a few bad news items for the environment that jump out right away.
- Climate change is only mentioned when describing eliminated or cut.
- The plan downsizes key environmental regulatory agencies, for example cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 24 percent and eliminating 2,000 staff positions.
- It offers up $233 million to drill for oil and gas as well as mine for coal on America’s public lands, a 28 percent increase over current levels.
- Clean water projects in rural communities would suffer. Funding for the USDA Rural Utility Service Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program was cut entirely.
- It further tarnishes our role as a onetime global environmental leader by axing the Global Climate Change Initiative, a program that financially supports climate change programs in developing countries.
- It hurts indigenous communities by slashing grants toward water and wastewater infrastructure projects on indigenous lands by more than $100 million.
- Funding for both the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes restoration efforts are cut by 90 percent in the EPA’s budget.
“President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget downsizes key environmental regulatory agencies, for example cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 24 percent, and eliminating 2,000 staff positions.”
- The EPA’s portion of the Global Change Research program, which coordinates federal research on our changing climate, has been eliminated.
- The important role of science at the EPA would continue to dwindle as the agency’s research office faces a 48 percent cut.
- And the plan favors the oil and coal industries by cutting the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office’s budget by $1.3 billion, eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy on cutting-edge energy technology and increasing the Fossil Energy Office’s budget by $81 million.
However, this budget is far from a done deal. The specifics will undoubtedly be fought, which leaves room for lawmakers to negotiate a better deal for the environment.