Climate, other programmes get deep cuts in EPA budget proposal

2017-03-04 07:43
(Evan Vucci, AP)

(Evan Vucci, AP)

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Washington - The Trump administration would slash programmes aimed at slowing climate change and improving water safety and air quality, while eliminating thousands of jobs, according to a draft of the Environmental Protection Agency budget proposal obtained by The Associated Press.

Under the tentative plan from the Office of Management and Budget, the agency's funding would be reduced by roughly 25% and about 3 000 jobs would be cut, about 19% of the agency's staff.

President Donald Trump has said he plans to pay for billions of dollars more for the military by cutting spending on domestic agencies and departments. Trump plans to submit his budget to Congress the week of March 13.

A spokesperson for the EPA declined to comment, but a top official said in an internal memo that EPA leaders "will do everything in our power to protect our ability to support the mission of the agency in protecting human health and the environment". A copy of the memo from Acting Assistant Administrator Donna Vizian was obtained by the AP.

Vizian said she could not verify news media accounts, but said any proposed cuts were just the start of a lengthy budget process. A final plan is subject to congressional approval, which likely is months away at the earliest.

The White House also declined to comment.

The EPA is now under the leadership of Scott Pruitt, a former state attorney general for Oklahoma, who has questioned the scientific consensus that human activities are contributing to global warming and joined lawsuits against the agency's emission curbs.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy called the proposed budget "a fantasy" that ignores the EPA's mission to protect public health.

"It shows the Trump administration doesn't hold the same American values for clean air, clean water and healthy land as the vast majority of its citizens," McCarthy said in a statement. "Our health comes before the special interests of multibillion-dollar industries."

Read more on:    epa  |  us  |  environment  |  climate change

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