More reports on: Environment

Trump aims to slash Environmental Protection Agency

02 March 2017

The Office of Management and Budget has called for deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget that would result in staff reduction by a fifth, in the first year and eliminate dozens of programmes, according to details of a document reviewed by The Washington Post.

According to commentators, the Trump administration had already indicated that defence spending would get priority over other discretionary funding and the document laid out how this new approach would affect long-standing federal programmes that impacted the daily lives of Americans.

''The administration's 2018 budget blueprint will prioritise rebuilding the military and making critical investments in the nation's security. It will also identify the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path,'' it read.

''Your [funding] level highlights the trade-offs and choices inherent in pursuing these goals.''

Acknowledging that the steep cuts ''will create many challenges,'' the document adds, ''it also can serve as catalyst for how the agency functions in the next 10 or 20 years or beyond. By looking ahead and focusing on clean water, clean air and other core responsibilities, rather than activities that are not required by law, EPA will be able to effectively achieve its mission.''

Trump and the new EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, are also working to aggressively roll back climate change programmes instituted or expanded under President Obama.

''I always took him very seriously when it came to his desire to dismantle the Clean Air and the Clean Water Act, and he's going to try to go through with it,'' senator Brian Schatz (Democrat-Hawaii) said, The Hill reported.

Schatz said, Trump's budget proposal, is ''radical, it's extreme and we will fight it. And of course a budget is a declaration of political objectives and not a binding document, so the committees will have their way with it, and I know we'll have a fight.''

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