The White House Wants to Gut the Agency That Makes Sure We Don't Live in a Toxic Wasteland


On Wednesday, President Trump released a draft federal spending budget for 2018. It reads like a “Mad Max: Fury Road” prequel. The budget outline savagely guts the Environmental Protection Agency, reducing overall spending by 31 percent and zeroing out key features of the agency, from climate change research to pollution control programs to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. If enacted, the proposed budget cuts would lead to an estimated 3,200 jobs lost.


Released Wednesday, Trump’s 2018 discretionary budget outline, titled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” shaves off a staggering $2.6 billion in funds from the EPA’s budget. The proposed cuts are in line with EPA head Scott Pruitt’s promise to cripple the agency’s regulatory powers, but the New York Times reports that even Pruitt’s own budget request was not this harsh. Pruitt, an avowed climate denier, did not take things this far. Let that sink in.

One of the most prominent features of the budget outline is that it discontinues funding for the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era set of regulations that sought to reduce power plant carbon pollution by a third by 2030. Pruitt sued to block the bill’s passage before he was brought on to lead the agency, and now seemingly has found a way to enact a “shadow repeal.” While going through the courts for a full repeal could take years, zeroing out the agency’s ability to enforce regulation has the same effect.

The CPP is instrumental in the US living up to its carbon emissions reduction promises under the Paris Agreement, an international accord between 197 countries to transition off fossil fuels this century. Trump is reportedly mulling pulling the US from the agreement entirely. The ones most benefitted by abandoning our carbon reductions pledges, are no surprise, fossil fuel companies.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Office of Research and Development, where much of the agency’s climate change research is conducted, has its budget cut by $233 million. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which monitors water quality and reduces pollution, is eliminated entirely, as are pollution cleanup programs in the Chesapeake Bay. Same for the Energy Star program, which rates home appliances for energy efficiency, and the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, which tests pesticides and environmental contaimants for carcinogens.

All told, the budget outline proposes that at least 50 programs be cut.

Trump isn’t just slashing the EPA’s budget, he’s organ harvesting it. It’s hard not to notice that the $2.6 billion in funds cleaved from the EPA’s bank account roughly match the $2 billion proposed downpayment on Trump’s border wall. More explicitly, the across-the-board cuts outlined in the budget draft are part of his plan to “rebuild” the military, for which Trump is requesting a $54 billion spending increase.


The budget’s stated goal is “[easing] the burden of unnecessary Federal regulations that impose signicant costs for workers and consumers without just able environmental benefits.” But, almost no evidence supports Pruitt or Trump’s claims that slashing EPA regulations will save jobs. It’s true that the coal sector has been hit very hard with unemployment, but that’s largely because of automation and competition from other energy sources, namely natural gas. Trump has plans to increase fracking, which will make oil and gas even cheaper alternatives to coal.

The only winners here are the fossil fuel execs who donated thousands in funds to Pruitt.


[White House]

Of course I have pages. I had pages five years ago. How anyone can believe I don’t defies belief.



How about this, since ‘red’ states (yes I realize we’re all purple but for ease of illustration I’m going to make this black and white) get to deal with their own environmental catastrophes and let ‘blue’ states self regulate more strictly than the current EPA regulation. We’re all about states rights no? No this won’t address climate change and there will literally and figuratively be shit that flows down stream to neighboring states but then it’s between those states.

I’m sick and tired of the public not realizing what environmental regulation actually does for them. We’ve become so accustomed to having ‘safe’ and ‘clean’ water in most of the country that we forget how quickly things can change. How many spills or discharges have contaminated people’s drinking water? Heck the the Des Moines water authority had to install a new denitrification plant that is costing them $1.5 M per year to remove nitrates from upstream runoff. Now a Republican lawmaker is trying to remove them and put in a new authority. Guess what ANYONE treating that water is going to need to remove those nitrates to make it safe for drinking.

Go ahead, destroy your own state all in the name of making jobs and saving money. But know any money made is short sighted because the burden will be felt for generations when you realize you’re going to be spending significantly more to try to reverse the damage. <end rant>