House Proposed EPA Budget Cuts 80% Less Than Trump Requested

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

House lawmakers have put forward draft legislation to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget about 80 percent less than a White House called for in its budget proposal.

The appropriations bill gives the EPA a $7.5 billion budget in 2017, which is $528 million less than the agency’s 2017 budget. The White House recommended cutting the EPA’s budget to $2.6 billion.

More broadly, the bill would provide $31.4 billion to federal environmental programs at the EPA, Department of the Interior and other agencies. It’s an $824 million cut below 2017 levels, but $4.3 billion less than the White House’s request.

“This legislation responsibly supports the agencies and offices we rely on to preserve our natural resources for future generations, and prioritizes our limited funding to programs that protect environmental safety, such as the Chemical Safety Board,” House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said in a statement.

“Further, the Committee’s vigorous oversight has identified opportunities to rein in the federal bureaucracy and to stop many harmful and unnecessary regulations that destroy economic opportunity and hinder job creation,” said Frelinghuysen, a New Jersey Republican.

The White House’s May budget proposal called for cutting $2.6 billion from the EPA’s budget by eliminating about 50 agency programs and cutting 3,200 jobs.

The bill supports President Donald Trump’s goals of cutting the EPA’s climate programs and rolling back regulations, but House lawmakers largely ignored White House calls to eliminate pet programs, like Great Lakes restoration.

Few expected lawmakers to go along with most of the cuts that the Trump administration recommended.

The budget bill also provides funding for the Trump administration to buy out EPA staffers to reduce the size of the agency’s workforce. EPA officials already set aside $12 million to buy out staffers near retirement.

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