Trump Budget Slashes Climate and Energy Programs While Ballooning Federal Deficit
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the successful Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) are among the biggest targets in a 2019 budget, released Monday by the Trump administration, that slashes federal funding for virtually any activity related to climate change or the post-carbon transition.
As expected, the cuts are even deeper than the ones Trump proposed in his 2018 budget, tabled last year. Early analysis indicates the budget has virtually no chance of being adopted as written, but it’s still seen as a powerful statement of policy priorities, and a starting point for negotiations between the White House and Congress.
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The EPA would see a budget cut reported at 34% by Greentech Media, 23% by the Washington Post. EERE would lose 65% of its US$2-billion budget, energy and related programs 43%, state and local clean air agencies 34%, and the National Science Foundation 30%. The wildly successfulEnergy Star appliance efficiency standard would become a fee-for-service program. ARPA-E would be eliminated entirely.
“While slashing clean energy and environmental programs, the White House’s $4.4-trillion budget would increase the deficit by more than $7 trillion over time—contrary to traditional Republican views on balancing the budget,” Greentech Media notes. “Clean energy and environmental advocates met both the budget and the infrastructure plan with sharp criticism, saying they did not adequately consider climate change and the changing tides of the energy industry.”
“This budget is cutting costs by refusing to invest in the future,” said Environmental Entrepreneurs Advocacy Director Grant Carlisle. “America can’t lead in clean energy or vehicle technologies if it ignores the fastest-growing energy sources and punishes businesses developing them. U.S. companies can’t invest in new technologies if we don’t fund the research that takes them from demonstration to commercialization.” [Disclosure: The Energy Mix Curator Mitchell Beer is a member of Environmental Entrepreneurs.]
“Congress must act to protect the critical programs Trump wants to cut by unequivocally rejecting this rigged budget,” said U.S. Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “Any member of Congress that backs Draconian cuts like these is failing to represent the American people, and may find they need to start updating their resume very soon.”
“Trump’s 2019 budget and infrastructure proposal continue this administration’s dangerous trend of prioritizing corporate polluters over safeguards for our environment and public health,” added League of Conservation Voters Senior Vice President Tiernan Sittenfeldt. “This year, Trump once again recommends gutting the agencies that protect our clean air, water, lands, and wildlife, while adding an extreme rollback of our bedrock environmental laws disguised as an infrastructure plan.”
The EPA cuts target an agency that Trump once promised to reduce to “little tidbits”, and has already “lost hundreds of employees to buyouts and retirements over the past year,” the Washington Post notes. The budget would nearly eliminate EPA climate change programming, the Office of Science and Technology would lose more than one-third of its funding, and the budget for prosecuting environmental crimes would fall significantly.”
As well, “the administration’s plan would cut several dozen programs altogether,” the Post reports. “Among them: funding for state radon-detection initiatives; assistance to fund water system improvements along the U.S.-Mexico border; and partnerships to monitor and restore water quality in the Gulf of Mexico, Puget Sound, and other large bodies of water. Funding for the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay would fall from $72 million to $7 million, and a similar program for the Great Lakes would be cut from $300 million to $30 million—although neither would be wiped out.”