Giving the EPA a haircut

Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller details the Trump administration’s plans for paring back the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

President Donald Trump will ask Congress to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget 24 percent, or nearly $2 billion, according to sources familiar with the budget plans.

The White House sent draft budget plans to agency heads Monday, detailing billions of dollars in cuts to a wide range of federal programs. Cuts to EPA and other agencies will fund a $54 billion increase in defense spending.

A source informed of the budget plans told E&E News Trump will push for a nearly $2 billion cut to EPA’s $8.1 billion budget. A source told Politico Trump also “proposed reducing EPA’s 15,000-strong workforce to 12,000, a level not seen since the mid-1980s.”

“You’re going to have to make reductions,” Myron Ebell, director of global warming and energy policy at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“There’s going to have to be some serious thought here,” said Ebell, who headed Trump’s EPA transition team. “They’re going to have to figure out to make these cuts.”

Trump’s plan to cut EPA’ budget 24 percent mirrors recommendations given to him by the agency transition team. That plan advised cuts outside of state and tribal grants, which make up about 43 percent of EPA’s budget.

In that case, EPA will have to cut 24 percent from its $4.6 billion budget for federal programs, payroll and contracts. That‘s effectively a 42 percent budget cut once state and tribal grants are excluded.

Ebell said Trump will likely cut EPA climate programs, like he promised on the campaign trail, but could also end up laying off agency staffers in D.C. or reduce the size of field offices. Top officials told Axios to expect “massive, transformational cuts, particularly to climate-change programs.”

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