The Office of Management and Budget is deciding how best to gouge the Environmental Protection Agency's budget, a result of President Trump's proposal to increase defense spending while cutting back on discretionary spending elsewhere, The Washington Post reports. While the specific decisions are not yet final, the Office of Management and Budget is reportedly looking to reduce EPA staff by one-fifth in the first year, from 15,000 to 12,000, and to possibly cut the agency's Office of Research and Development by as much as 42 percent, multiple officials briefed on the plans revealed.
"These cuts, if enacted by Congress, will 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 around the country," said S. William Becker, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.
The government is also reportedly looking at eliminating projects that clean up environmental contamination at former industrial sites; axing a national system for recording hazardous waste; and doing away with the Energy Star energy efficiency program, climate change initiatives, and funding for Alaskan native villages.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt warned Tuesday that nothing is yet set in stone. "What's important for us is to educate OMB on what the priorities of the agency are, from water infrastructure to Superfund, providing some of those tangible benefits to our citizens, while at the same time making sure that we reallocate, re-prioritize in our agency to do regulatory reform to get back within the bounds of Congress," Pruitt said.