I’ve been posting budget news as it has come out. Now that we have Trump’s proposal, I’ve replaced all the earlier information with the official numbers in this version. The bottom line: the budget would be a disaster for the environment, for science, and for the country. The general philosophy behind the budget was expressed by Trump’s OMB Director: “As to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward: We’re not spending money on that anymore, . . .We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.”
Environmental Science.The Administration’s attack on environmental science – climate science in particular – is now taking concrete form.
- EPA’s research on air, climate, energy (EPA) would be cut 50% (to $46 million) Overall, EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) would be cut $223 million (roughly half)
- $900 million cut from DOE’s Office of Science. Eliminates ARPA-E program.
- NOAA – $250 million cut in programs supporting “coastal and marine management, research, and education including Sea Grant.” On March 15, it was reported that the chair of the House Science Committee is on-board with major cuts in NOAA research. He said “Hundreds of millions of dollars in savings are available by reducing NOAA climate change programs and big, government satellite systems costs.”
- NASA — $102 million cut in funding for earth science program, terminating four missions relating to climate change.
- The budget cuts $2 billion dollars from weatherization programs, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and the Fossil Energy Research and Development, limiting their work to “limited early-stage applied energy research and development.”
In addition, it is worth noting that the budget cuts $6 billion (about 20%) of the National Institutes of Health’s funding. Although there is no specific mention in the current summary document, the press reported that the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a program started by President George H.W. Bush, would be eliminated. The chair of the House Science Committee seems to share this view: “Given this fiscal irresponsibility, any funding that is part of the USGCRP should only be available contingent on a finding by the administration that is not duplicative or wasteful based on a government-wide review of climate change research.”
EPA. Earlier information was that EPA’s budget would be cut 25%, with staff cut by 20%. Trump has proposed an even greater cut of 31%, reducing the budget to $5.7 billion and cutting 3200 jobs, despite Pruitt’s pleas to restore some of the earlier proposed cuts. . Apart from the research cuts listed above, the cuts would include:
- Eliminates the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Chesapeake Bay clean-up, and other “regional efforts.”
- Discontinues funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts-saving over $100 million.
- Categorical grants to states would be cut from $1 billion to $597 million.
- Eliminates 50 programs, including Energy Star; Targeted Airshed Grants; the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program; and infrastructure assistance to Alaska Native Villages and the Mexico Border.
- Cuts the enforcement budget by around 25% ($129 million).
Other Departments. Department of Agriculture — eliminates $500 million in water/wastewater grants & loans. State Department — eliminates U.S. funding related to the Green Climate Fund and its two precursor Climate Investment Funds.
This continues to be quite a grim picture. It seems clear that this budget won’t pass Congress, where even House Republicans feel that it’s too draconian. But will it serve as a reference point in budget discussions, skewing outcomes in its direction? Or will it be ignored entirely? And a related question: how will cabinet officers testifying about their budgets deal with cuts that they resisted internally? Will they make a serious effort to defend the budget proposal? Stay tuned for further developments.
Even if the President’s proposal exercises relatively little influence on the final outcome, it does provide further evidence of his implacable hostility toward environmental protection and his disdain for the federal government’s traditional role in supporting scientific r