March 1, 2017
President Trump has launched the opening salvo in his assault on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) according to a March 1, 2017 report from The Hill.
Trump is tearing into the EPA’s budget by a reported 24 percent, which if approved by Congress would slash the agency’s $8.1 billion budget to George H.W. Bush-era levels and reduce the EPA’s workforce by one-fifth. Trump and his newly installed EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, are also beginning an aggressive regulatory rollback at the agency, taking aim at climate change programs instituted or expanded under President Obama.
On February 28, 2017 the president signed an executive order asking the EPA to rewrite a controversial water jurisdiction rule that was central to the agency’s regulatory efforts under the Obama administration.
The moves are in line with Trump’s rhetoric during the presidential campaign, when he promised to hobble an agency he considered bloated, overreaching and a threat to jobs in the United States. Between the EPA actions and other executive orders fast-tracking two contentious pipeline projects, Democrats and environmentalists are bracing for bigger attacks on Obama’s climate legacy.
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, said Trump’s actions will lead to an EPA that “can’t carry out the legal mandate.” “If this budget is enacted the way he wants it, he’s effectively dealt a very significant death blow to the EPA,” he said.
During the campaign, Trump promised to take a much more conservative approach to environmental issues as president. He pledged to end the water rule and the Clean Power Plan, allow the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline projects to move forward, reform the EPA’s regulatory power and expand fossil fuel development in the United States.
So far, he’s made progress on many of those goals, ratcheting up the stakes for environmentalists.
Trump’s actions and proposals have encouraged his industry supporters and EPA critics on Capitol Hill, with many longtime opponents of the water rule claiming victory following the executive order signing on Tuesday. Likewise, some conservatives welcomed his budget proposal.
“President Trump has come into office on a campaign promise of controlling the cost and size of government, and the fact that he’s taking a bullseye on the EPA, that’s good news,” said Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.), a member of the Appropriations Committee panel that sets the EPA’s budget.
A few GOP appropriators, too, seem uneasy about slashing the EPA’s budget when the agency has absorbed sizable spending cuts over the last six years. “I’d like to look and see what actually gets out of committee,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said.
What this means to you
In his budget proposal to Congress, President Trump has proposed a reported 24 percent ( $8.1 billion) EPA budget cut and a reduction of EPA’s workfoce by 20 percent. Trump and his newly installed EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, are also beginning an aggressive regulatory rollback at the agency, taking aim at climate change programs instituted or expanded under President Obama
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