Env. Budget Update
The budget is an unfolding story. It’s not looking any better right now.
Because budget news comes in stages, I’m planning to periodically update this post. Here’s what we know as of now. Material since the last update is in green.
Environmental Science. I have posted previously about the threat to scientific research posed by the Trump Administration. The Administration’s attack on environmental science – climate science in particular – is now taking concrete form.
- NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would lose 26% ($126 million) of its current funding.
- NOAA’s satellite data division would lose 22% ($513 million) of its funding. 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,”
- The U.S. Global Change Research Program, a program started by President George H.W. Bush, would be eliminated. Again, the House seems to be moving in the same direction: “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’s research on air, climate, energy (EPA) would be cut 50% (to $46 million)
- EPA’s research on chemical safety and sustainability would be cut 30% (to $62 million.)
- Overall, EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) would be cut 40% (from $510 million to $290 million).
- On March 9, the press reported that the Administration is planning at 30% cut for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which researches cutting edge energy technologies.
EPA. EPA’s budget would be cut 25%, with staff cut by 20%. The most complete information I’ve found is here, although I’ve relied on other sources as well. This story provides a good overview. Apart from the research cuts listed above, the cuts would include:
- The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would be cut 97% (from $300 million to 10 million).
- Grants to states for lead cleanup would be cut 30%, to $9.8 million.
- Grants for the brownfields industrial site cleanup program would be slashed by 42% to $14.7 million.
- Restoration programs for the San Francisco Bay, Lake Champlain and Long Island Sound would be axed.
- Funding for enforcing pollution laws would be reduced 11% to $153 million.
- Zeroed out: support for Alaska native villages that are sinking because of climate change
- Zero support: for the diesel emissions reduction program.
Other Departments. The Administration is proposing a 10% cut for the Interior budget. Few details seem to be available as of now. There are also reports about major cuts at DOE targeting renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, but nothing concrete seems to have leaked yet. The Heritage Foundation’s proposal may provide the blueprint. It calls for cutting funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, as well as axing the Office of Electricity, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the Office of Fossil Energy (which works on carbon capture and sequestration from fossil fuel plants.) Current indications are that the Trump Administration is following this blueprint, as shown by the March 9 news report discussed above about proposed research cuts at DOE.
This continues to be quite a grim picture. We should know more when Trump’s formal budget plan is released.
Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…READ more