Trump Wants to 'Zero Out' EPA Programs

Trump Wants to 'Zero Out' EPA Programs

Darren Sullivan
March 3, 2017

Pruitt also said he would meet with White House officials Thursday afternoon to talk about environmental projects that could go in an eventual infrastructure bill, saying he would promote funding for water infrastructure.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this weekend that he would work to end several regulatory efforts that the agency has in the works. At issue is whether Trump will follow through on campaign commitments to limit the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and to dismantle new and existing environmental initiatives, or if a more moderate approach to realign environmental priorities will emerge.

The Washington Post was first to report the staff and overall budget cuts, but the source disclosed new details on the impact the cuts would have on programs.

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Pruitt indicated he was comfortable with the cuts, but that grants to states, which he said accounted for half the agency's spending, would be protected.

“These cuts, if enacted by Congress, would rip the heart and soul out of the national air pollution control program and jeopardize the health and welfare of tens of millions of people throughout the country, ” Becker said. The EPA's environmental justice department provides crucial grants to lower-income communities and communities of color to help address pollution from industrial facilities and agricultural operations near their neighborhoods. But regardless of the size of the budget cuts, President Donald Trump wants to preserve "pass-through" grants to states, which make up almost half the agency's budget, Ebell said in an interview. “A 25 percent budget cut would likely decimate EPAs ability to enforce core environmental programs that protect the public from harmful air and water pollution.”. It is still unclear whether or not congressional Republicans will approve such strong cuts. According to Bloomberg, those policy reversals include the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the USA rule. But Myron Ebell, who led the Trump transition team's analysis of the EPA, reckons that the administration could cut the workforce to 5,000.