Trump Slashes Climate Budget, Programs

“A more humble view concerning the government’s ability to control climate.”

Trump Slashes Climate Budget, Programs

By H. Sterling Burnett

President Donald Trump is keeping his commitment to reduce the size of government in part by cutting the staff and power of regulatory agencies, especially those with environmental and energy responsibilities, which he says have harmed businesses and cost jobs for little or no health or environmental gains. In addition, each agency’s remaining funds are being redirected to serve their core missions.

For example, the budget blueprint for the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) proposes cutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget from $8.2 billion in 2017 to $6.1 billion in 2018, approximately 26 percent. EPA’s 15,000-person workforce would be cut by 20 percent, to 12,000. The OMB document says the cuts are aimed at “identify[ing] the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path.”

All EPA’s climate programs are on the chopping block. Other programs specifically targeted for elimination include the brownfields projects, Energy Star grants, endocrine disrupter grants under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, environmental justice programs, 14 separate Climate Voluntary Partnership programs, multi-purpose radon grants from the Office of Public Engagement and Environmental Education, Star Research grants for small minority-owned businesses, the U.S. Global Change Research program, and various regional environmental clean-up and restoration programs. EPA’s Office of Research and Development would receive a 42 percent budget cut.

OMB’s blueprint reduces the Department of Commerce’s budget by 18 percent, including a 17 percent cut in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA’s cuts primarily target its climate research initiatives, not its weather monitoring and forecasting functions. In particular, the budget of NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service, which carries out or funds its climate and environmental research, would be reduced by 26 percent.

Trump’s budget proposal would reduce the Department of Energy’s (DOE) budget by about $1.7 billion, a relatively small 5.6 percent cut. Trump’s budget revives the Yucca Mountain nuclear storage facility mothballed by former President Barack Obama over Congress’s objections. DOE’s core function of managing the nation’s nuclear power program and the nuclear fuel stockpile gets an 11 percent funding increase. By contrast, the OMB blueprint cuts the rest of the Energy Department’s programs by 17.9 percent, with the Office of Science, which undertakes most of DOE’s climate research, losing nearly 20 percent of its budget. Trump’s budget eliminates entirely DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Energy program and loan guarantees for new low-carbon energy projects.

These are the programs that funded so many politically connected, now defunct, green energy companies, whose bankruptcies cost taxpayers billions of dollars. OMB says the cuts are justified because “the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies.”

Trump has laid out a bold, significantly smaller, vision for the nation’s environmental and energy agencies: a vision reflecting a more humble view concerning the government’s ability to control climate or predict the energy and environmental technologies that will best satisfy the desires and needs of future generations.

Congress, of course, ultimately sets the budget and will undoubtedly tinker with, modify, and perhaps ignore entirely some of Trumps proposed budget items. But the public will know, if the power and costs of U.S. environment and energy agencies aren’t significantly reduced – that is, if wasteful and unjustified energy and climate programs continue – Congress, not Trump, is to blame.

H. Sterling Burnett
SOURCES: The Blaze; The Washington Post; Heartland; and Reuters

9 thoughts on “Trump Slashes Climate Budget, Programs

  1. Am I right to think the President doesn’t actually set the Budget and that Congress does ?

    The President proposes his budget but Congress actually sets it ?

    From there all the President can do is to veto programs or the budget ?

    Doesn’t this mean Trump’s plans may not be implemented ?

    Or am I wrong ?

    In Australia we have a Senate that can block a budget but since the “coup” in 1975 no government’s budget – called supply here – has been blocked. Individual programs can be vetoed by the Senate however and frequently are.

    • Yes, and frequently you hear Congress say, the president’s budget is dead on arrival. The spending g bills must come out of the house, get passed by the house, approved by the Senate then signed by the president. The president’s never is just a wish list which is often ignored.

  2. All good news. In the UK we can only hope that Donald’s cure for ‘climate change cancer’ will spread although we do have a big Brexit crash brewing that will demand attention over the next few years.

  3. Since the climate has been changing all the time for at least hundreds of millions of years, it’s highly unlikely anything we can do will make it stop changing, Very. And shutting down Yucca Mountain as a nuclear storage facility never made sense, fears of nuclear contamination of ground water threatening the water supply for Las Vegas . . . there is so little rain out there in Nevada that the radioactivity (assuming material leaked) would decay to background levels long before groundwater could migrate from Yucca Mountain to anywhere near Las Vegas, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of years.

  4. The requirements of being a responsible government require fiscal retrenchment and debt repayment. Real spending cuts are unavoidable. Like it or hate it, it must be done not just for a year but for decades and centuries if need be.

  5. This is why The Donald was elected. Getting control of the government spending, reversing as much of the Communist Muslim in Chief’s kindergarten fiscal nonsense as possible as soon as possible is awaited anxiously. Doesn’t any Democrat see that the Billary team was nothing but thugs and felons?

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