Environmental Budget Update

Trump’s brutal attack on environmental spending seems mired in Congress.

It was clear early on that the stop-gap funding measure rejected Trump’s budget priorities.  Emerging details about the bill demonstrate how starkly Trump lost.

Environmental and energy programs survived with very little damage. Let’s begin with the EPA budget.  Trump sought an immediate cut, followed by a 33% cut in the next budget.  Instead, EPA received only a 1% cut, and maintains its current staffing level.  Funding was maintained for the $435.8 million, including $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, $73 million for the Chesapeake Bay and $28 million for Puget Sound, all of which Trump seeks to abolish. The Interior Department did even better, with small increases to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Geological Survey.  In the Department of Energy, programs opposed to Trump kept their funding, with small increases for the energy research program in ARPA-E and the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program.

Environmental research was also largely spared. NOAA and NASA received increases, and NSF was directed to build three research ships.  EPA’s research office did take a hit (around 3%), but there’s no sign that Congress has an appetite for Trump’s desire to gut environmental research.

This bill merely funds the government until October 1, when the new fiscal year begins.  Maybe Trump will be more successful then. He has said that a government shutdown might be a good thing for the country.  That seems unlikely to deter Democrats for demanding concessions to avoid a filibuster in the Senate.  There is also little sign that the Freedom Caucus is willing to compromise on spending cuts in the House that GOP moderates cannot support, forcing Ryan to recruit Democratic votes.  In short, there’s no reason to anticipate a change in the political dynamics that led to passage of this stop-gap measure.

 

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Reader Comments

3 Replies to “Environmental Budget Update”

  1. You folks, UC professors and scholars, must learn to communicate with the electorate in order to inform, educate and motivate us to demand that Washington politicians take actions to save our environment before time climate changes are totally out of control.

    Consequences of CO2 emissions at the already outrageous 410 ppm level are already proving to be out of control.

    Stop marginalizing We The People!

  2. Dan,
    Trump does not need to overcome a filibuster to reduce EPA’s budget. Instead the Republicans could invoke the nuclear option and pass their budget with a simple majority.
    Cheers and applause.

  3. “As we peer into society’s future, we—you and I, and our government—must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address to the Nation, January 17, 1961

    We were warned, but all we have done since then is prove our brain is not wired to protect the human race from itself.

    Our failure to communicate has become our greatest failure, and the paramount fact of life in 2017 is that the power of money rules all institutions.

    So “350 or Bust” has become our epitaph as we rocket past 410 ppm.

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About Dan

Dan Farber

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…

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