Saturday, March 4, 2017

Reason #5464 Trump Was Elected: Trump Budget Would Gut EPA Bay Program

And I'm not sure that's a bad thing. . .

Trump would cut Chesapeake Bay cleanup from $73M a year to $5M
The Washington Post reports the massive reduction is part of the president's draft fiscal year 2018 budget that would slash funds, staff and programs at the Environmental Protection Agency. As a candidate, Trump vowed to reduce the EPA to "little tidbits."

The EPA oversees the Chesapeake Bay Program, a regional partnership formed in 1983 to restore the badly polluted estuary. Nearly two-thirds of the program's budget is given to Virginia and other bay states for clean water projects. It's that funding that Trump's plan, if approved, would decimate.

"That's an elimination of the program," said Eric Schaeffer, director of the D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project, on Thursday. "When you drop down to that level, I don't know what you are left with. Basically, security guards or something guarding an empty building."
Knowing the EPA, they couldn't hang up "This place for rent" signs for $5 M. Overall, the agency does slightly better:
Trump's plan would reduce staff by another 20 percent, from 15,000 to 12,000 employees, cut grants to states by 30 percent and eliminate 38 separate programs, The Washington Post reports. Its annual budget would drop from $8.2 billion to $6.1 billion.
There's a good argument to be made that the entire agency should be blitzed and restarted from scratch with all new personnel. But will it really stick?
Schaeffer said the draconian budget proposal is likely part of the administration's negotiation strategy.

"The charitable explanation is they are pushing these things out in order to dramatize the cuts they want to make and with the expectation that they'll be pushed back," Schaeffer said. "Trump's MO supposedly is making outrageous demands. And then accepting half of outrageous."
Stay tuned; it's going to get interesting.

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