Energy

Trump Pushes For Massive Budget, Staff Cuts At EPA

President Donald Trump will ask Congress to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget 24 percent, or nearly $2 billion, according to sources familiar with the budget plans.

The White House sent draft budget plans to agency heads Monday, detailing billions of dollars in cuts to a wide range of federal programs. Cuts to EPA and other agencies will fund a $54 billion increase in defense spending.

A source informed of the budget plans told E&E News Trump will push for a nearly $2 billion cut to EPA’s $8.1 billion budget. A source told Politico Trump also “proposed reducing EPA’s 15,000-strong workforce to 12,000, a level not seen since the mid-1980s.”

“You’re going to have to make reductions,” Myron Ebell, director of global warming and energy policy at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“There’s going to have to be some serious thought here,” said Ebell, who headed Trump’s EPA transition team. “They’re going to have to figure out to make these cuts.”

Trump’s plan to cut EPA’ budget 24 percent mirrors recommendations given to him by the agency transition team. That plan advised cuts outside of state and tribal grants, which make up about 43 percent of EPA’s budget.

In that case, EPA will have to cut 24 percent from its $4.6 billion budget for federal programs, payroll and contracts. That‘s effectively a 42 percent budget cut once state and tribal grants are excluded.

Ebell said Trump will likely cut EPA climate programs, like he promised on the campaign trail, but could also end up laying off agency staffers in D.C. or reduce the size of field offices. Top officials told Axios to expect “massive, transformational cuts, particularly to climate-change programs.”

“Businesses have to do this all the time,” Ebell said.“The federal government never has to undergo this market discipline.”

Trump promised to abolish President Barack Obama’s “Climate Action Plan,” refocusing the EPA towards clean air and water regulations.

EPA had more than 15,300 employees and a budget of more than $8.1 billion in 2016. About half of EPA staff work at regional offices across the country, even though more than 90 percent of EPA programs are administered by state agencies.

The Trump administration has said the budget figures sent to agency heads is not the full budget. The White house hopes to have a full budget put together by May

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“This is not a full-blown budget,” Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters Monday.

Mulvaney stressed current agency budgets plans were top-line numbers and don’t include entitlements or other programs that will be addressed later.

Mulvaney said the budget reflected Trump’s promises of rebuilding the military, securing the border, taking care of veterans and increasing school choice

“We are taking his words and turning them into policies and dollars,” Mulvaney said.

The EPA did not respond to TheDCNF by the time of publication.

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