Monday, March 20, 2017

Trump's Budget is a Declaration of War Against Environmental Protections, Climate Action and Scientific Research

Donald Trump has released his first official budget proposal and it affords a window into his administration's determination to eradicate environmental protections, climate action, and scientific research. The proposed cuts are both a public health issue and a threat to national security. This budget is intent on killing the Obama administration's investments in climate change and clean energy. This budget is unprecedented as proposed cuts are far worse than those of previous Republican administrations.

Trump wants to eliminate funding for mitigation, adaptation, and science related to climate change. He wants to slash funding to climate science agencies by 17 percent. The fact that this includes climate research is a bitter irony. Republicans have falsely claimed that there is not enough evidence to support action on climate change. Now Trump wants to end government support for climate research that would add to the already considerable body of evidence. Trump wants to eliminate government funding of science altogether so that he can control the narrative by depriving Americans of the facts.  

In addition to massive cuts to environmental oversight and climate action, this budget specifically targets the most vulnerable. Trump wants to kill 19 agencies including those that are involved with development, community service, public broadcasting, homelessness, peace, the arts and the humanities. The budget would eliminate chemical safety oversight and climate change prevention programs, including money owed to the U.N. Trump also wants to slash funding for the World Bank and cultural-exchange programs.

This administration wants to end protections designed to safeguard the air Americans breathe and the water Americans drink. Trump wants to end regulations like the vehicle emissions standards that save money and contribute to the health of Americans. He also wants to end oversight the ensures Americans have access to safe food.

Here are some of the initiatives that Trump wants to take away from Americans in nine departments.

Department of Agriculture

If Trump gets his way he will end the Department of Agriculture’s water and waste disposal loan and grant program, which gives money to rural governments and tribal nations to improve drinking water systems.

Interior Department

Trump wants to decrease the Interior Department's budget by $1.6B (12 percent reduction). This means less support for national parks, historic sites, and combating the trafficking of illegal wildlife.


Proposed cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will directly impact the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with cuts of $5.8 billion. Other HHS agencies that will be impacted include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Trump wants to end funding to research on climate and public health at both the NIH and the CDC. This budget also delivers a painful blow to biomedical research and public health infrastructure.


Trump's promised cuts to NASA's budget strategically kills all Earth-observing and education programs. Trump proposes cuts of $115 million for the Office of Education and he slashes $102 million earmarked for climate research. Trump has proposed cuts to NASA's research programs aimed at gathering information about climate change. This includes the Orbital Carbon Observatory mission, meant to take measurements from space of the Earth’s carbon dioxide levels. It also includes CLARREO (Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory) Pathfinder mission that would have contributed to the creation of reliable climate models.

Commerce (NOAA)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is part of the Commerce Department, which Trump would like to see cut by 18 percent. Trump proposes cuts to NOAA's budget of $126 million, or 26 percent. The proposed cuts would eliminate funding for external research, coastal management, estuary reserves and coastal resilience. NOAA's funding for education, grants and research would also be cut. The National Marine Fisheries Service and National Weather Service would be cut by 5 percent. More than half a billion would be cut from NOAA’s satellite division (National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service) which includes climate and environmental information by the National Centers for Environmental Information. If passed this budget would undermine accurate weather forecasting and make Americans more vulnerable to extreme weather. This includes $250 million in coastal and ocean grants and programs that address rising seas and acidic oceans associated with global warming.

Energy Department

Trump proposes a $1.7B (6 percent decrease) in the energy budget. He wants to Cut $900 million from the Office of Science. He wants to stymie the growth of renewable energy by cutting the budget of the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. This means an end to a wide range of research from biofuels to batteries. Trump also indicated that he wants to slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy and The Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which works to develop more advanced, efficient cars.

Trump even wants to cut scientific programs aimed at reducing the emissions associated with fossil fuels. This includes the Energy Department’s Fossil Energy Research and Development program. This means an end to research into carbon capture and storage technologies. Trump also wants to eradicate the Energy Star program, Weatherization Assistance Program, ARPA-E, and Title 17 loan guarantees.

State Department & USAID

Trump wants to cut the State Department's budget by $10.9B (29 percent reduction). This will reduce aid to some of the most strategic regions in the world. Cuts to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) include the UNs Global Climate Change Initiative (Green Climate Fund), which is instrumental to help developing countries adapt to climate change and shift to cleaner energy. Trump will renege on Obama's 3 billion dollar pledge. USAID was created by President John F. Kennedy and it is responsible for administering civilian foreign aid.


No agency is hit harder by Trump's proposed budget cuts than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Trump declared war on the EPA shortly after coming to power, but his budget makes his intentions clear. He wants to slash the agency's budget by $2.5 billion or almost a third (31 percent), this would reduce the EPA's budget to the lowest level in 40 years. This would also eliminate scientific research conducted by the agency and cause 3,200 people to lose their jobs. This translates to less environmental oversight and fewer environmental regulations for companies.

The new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is pro-industry and anti-climate. He is trying to kill the agency as are Republicans. Even if the EPA survives, if enacted, Trump's budget would have serious consequences for agency's core mission of protecting the climate, clean air, water and public health.

Trump's assault on the EPA slashes nearly 50 programs. This includes the Clean Power Plan which both prevents up to 3,600 premature deaths every year and would have provided more than a quarter of million jobs. This budget would also terminate vehicle emissions standards that have made the air cleaner, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and ultimately saved Americans nearly $35 billion in fuel. Other programs on the chopping block include the Energy Star program as well as grants that help states and cities fight air pollution.

The Office of Research and Development would be cut in half and Trump hopes to eliminate restoration programs for the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. Another EPA program Trump would like kill provides clean water and sewage treatment systems to native Alaskan villages. There would also be significant reductions in funding for the Superfund cleanup program, the Chemical Safety Board, as well as the Office of Enforcement and Compliance.

Although Congress will ultimately decide just how deep these cuts will go, Trump has once again made it clear that his administration is determined to undermine environmental protections, kill climate actions and defund scientific research.

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