- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Trump’s budget proposal is expected to cut $2 billion and 20% of staff from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report from E&E News.
As reported by the New York Times, the administration’s forthcoming budget proposal is expected to ramp up military spending by $54 billion, and impose steep cuts on non-military agencies.
E&E News got new details about the budget’s likely impact on the EPA from sources informed about the plan. A 20% staff decrease would mean layoffs of 3,000 employees, and a $2 billion cut would reduce the EPA budget by about 25% from its current $8.1 billion. (For comparison, the 2016 Department of Agriculture budget was $140 billion, the State Department’s was about $50 billion, and NASA’s was about $18 billion. The Pentagon budget, which includes military spending, was $560 billion.)
About 74% of the EPA’s annual budget funds grants to states, tribes, and government contractors for cleanup and preparedness efforts. The remainder goes to staff payroll, scientific studies, and other expenses.
- Chip Somodevilla / Getty
The reduction in staff would take the agency from about 15,000 employees to 12,000. While significant, that decrease is less severe than those previously hinted by transition officials – rumors had suggested the agency could be cut to just 5,000 employees.
Since 2010, the EPA has already decreased its operating budget by $2.1 billion – at the time, its expenses totaled $10.2 billion.
Trump’s budget proposal, of course, would not immediately become law once released. Rather, it presents a framework that Congress can vote on.
According to E&E News, Gina McCarthy, the former EPA chief under Obama, said that if the Trump administration believes the budget won’t hinder the EPA’s mission to protect public health, it’s a “fantasy.”