The Trump Administration released its fiscal 2019 budget proposal on February 12, revealing plans to deeply cut funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If adopted, the budget would cut the EPA‘s budget by 23 percent, or more than $2.5 billion, and eliminate nearly all funding for climate change research. The Administration describes a return to the true mission of the EPA by reducing “unnecessary reporting burdens on the regulated community” and ending programs that “create unnecessary redundancies or those that have served their purpose and accomplished their mission.”
Environmental groups describe the budget as an effort to dismantle federal environmental protections. “The Trump administration budget released today is a blueprint for a less healthy, more polluted America,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, in a statement. “A budget shows your values — and this budget shows the administration doesn’t value clean air, clean water, or protecting Americans from toxic pollution.”
Specific targets include programs such as water improvement funding for U.S.-Mexico border communities, state funding for radon-detecting initiatives, and efforts to restore the health of large bodies of water, such as Puget Sound, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. While clearly laying out the administration’s priorities, the budget is not likely to become law. Congress recently passed a two-year bipartisan budget agreement, so Trump’s budget will have to wait its turn. At that point, Congress may have changed parties. Even if the Republicans maintain control in two years, it remains to be seen whether Congress would agree to inflict such draconian cuts onto important federal agencies and programs. Still, the budget is a telling symbol of what this Administration wishes the United States to become.