Trump's budget could cut 3,000 staff from the EPA, report suggests

Trump’s budget proposal is expected to cut $US2 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 $US54 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 $US2 billion cut would reduce the EPA budget by about 25% from its current $US8.1 billion. (For comparison, the 2016 Department of Agriculture budget was $US140 billion, the State Department’s was about $US50 billion, and NASA’s was about $US18 billion. The Pentagon budget, which includes military spending, was $US560 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.

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 — rumours had suggested the agency could be cut to just 5,000 employees.

Since 2010, the EPA has already decreased its operating budget by $US2.1 billion — at the time, its expenses totaled $US10.2 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.”

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