President Trump released the fiscal 2019 budget yesterday, and it’s a doozy for the environment. The analysis will continue over coming days, but here are a few bad news items for the environment that jump out right away.
- Climate change is only mentioned when describing eliminated or cut programs.
- The plan downsizes key environmental regulatory agencies, for example cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's budget by 24 percent and eliminating 2,000 staff positions.
- It offers up $233 million to drill for oil and gas as well as mine for coal on America’s public lands, a 28 percent increase over current levels.
- Clean water projects in rural communities would suffer. Funding for the USDA Rural Utility Service water and wastewater grants program was cut entirely.
- It further tarnishes our role as a onetime global environmental leader by axing the Global Climate Change Initiative, a program that financially supports climate change programs in developing countries.
- It hurts indigenous communities by slashing grants toward water and wastewater infrastructure projects on indigenous lands by more than $100 million.
- Funding for both the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes restoration efforts are cut by 90 percent in the EPA’s budget.
- The EPA’s portion of the Global Change Research program, which coordinates federal research on our changing climate, has been eliminated.
- The important role of science at the EPA would continue to dwindle as the agency’s research office faces a 48 percent cut.
- And the plan favors the oil and coal industries by cutting the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office's budget by $1.3 billion, eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy on cutting-edge energy technology and increasing the Fossil Energy Office's budget by $81 million.
However, this budget is far from a done deal. The specifics will undoubtedly be fought, which leaves room for lawmakers to negotiate a better deal for the environment.
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