President Donald Trump plans to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget and prevent agency officials from implementing costly regulations, according to a leaked transition memo.
The leaked EPA “Agency Action” plan, obtained by Axios, urges “major reforms of the agency’s use of science and economics” — a major concern for Republican lawmakers and think tankers who claim officials manipulate research to fit their policy goals.
Trump expects to sign as many as 200 executive orders Monday, with many more coming in the following months. A Trump transition official told Axios they have “dozens for the EPA” and will start unveiling those orders “Monday through the month of February.”
“We have to roll them out gradually,” the transition source told Axios.
Axios reports the leaked memo was the work of EPA transition team head Myron Ebell, the director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. Ebell is a vigorous opponent of environmentalists and bureaucrats looking to expand federal power.
Trump promised to eliminate “job killing” energy restrictions immediately upon taking office. Observers expect him to target an Obama administration rule on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and another expanding federal control over U.S. waterways.
Indeed, the leaked memo urges Trump to stop “Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulations for new (NSPS) and existing (ESPS or the ‘Clean Power’ Plan) coal and natural gas power plants” along with fuel economy mandates for new cars and “Clean Water Section 404: Waters of the U.S. Rule (wetlands).”
Another section titled “Potential opportunities for budget reductions” includes $513 million in cuts to the “states and tribal assistance grants,” $193 million in savings from eliminating agency global warming programs and another $109 million in savings cutting “environment programs and management.”
The memo also urges Trump to “[i]ssue an executive order barring EPA from overruling federal/state regulatory/permit decisions unless in clear violation of established law.”
The transition team also took aim at EPA’s use of “secret science” — a charge leveled by Republican lawmakers who argue the agency manipulates science to fit its political goals.
“Unless major reforms of the agency’s use of science and economics are achieved, EPA will be able to return to its bad old ways as soon as an establishment administration takes office,” reads the memo.
“EPA does not use science to guide regulatory policy as much as it uses regulatory policy to steer the science,” reads the memo. “This is an old problem at EPA. In 1992, a blue-ribbon panel of EPA science advisers that [sic] ‘science should not be adjusted to fit policy.’ But rather than heed this advice, EPA has greatly increased its science manipulation.”
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