Friday, February 21, 2020

Trump's 2021 Budget Seeks to Slash Funding for Climate Action While Increasing Support for Fossil Fuels

US President Donald Trump's proposed budget for fiscal 2021 seeks to kill climate action and science. This budget is a continuation of what we have seen in his previous three budgets. It includes opposition to pollution abatement, energy efficiency and renewable energy, while increasing support for fossil fuels. Here is a breakdown of how this budget impacts the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and Climate Adaptation Science Centers.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Trump wants to eliminate 50 EPA programs including Energy Star and projects that make the US safer for Americans.  This includes programs that fight pollution, radon, lead, and those that give out clean water grants. He would like to reduce the number of employees at the EPA to their lowest levels in almost three and a half decades. and slash the agency's funding by more than a quarter (26%). He wants to cut research and development at the EPA from $500 million to $281 million. Despite the long backlog of hazardous sites that need to be cleaned, Trump wants to cut funding to the Superfund which allocates money for cleaning up hazardous waste. He also wants to slash funding for land conservation and regulatory processes for developments on waterways and wetlands.

Department of Energy (DoE)

Trump wants to reduce funding at the DoE by 8 percent and he want to end or reduce funding to a number of climate related programs at scientific agencies. This includes eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency which would kill funding for renewables. While he wants to cut funding for energy research and development programs by half (from $5.3 billion to $2.8 billion), his budget seeks to continue to support dirty energy which further undermines the health of Americans and exacerbates climate change.

Department of the Interior (DOI)

Trump's budget wants to slash funding at the DOI by 16 percent. If Trump had his way the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would see a $144 million cut,  the Fish and Wildlife Service would see a $265 million cut and the National Park Service would see it's budget slashed by $581 million. While cutting regulations for clean energy at the DOI,  Trump wants to fund the development of fossil fuels on federal lands with $195.5 million for the BLM oil and gas activities, and $18.9 million for its coal management program. His budget also throws public money at efforts to find new markets for coal, the dirtiest of dirty energy. He also wants to half the funding for the team that reviews the environmental impacts of major projects. Trump wants to stop federal land acquisitions by the Interior and Agriculture departments by cutting their budgets by more than 90 percent. (from $227 million to $18 million). This administration would also like to eradicate the budget of the the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCS)

Trump’s 2021 budget would slash funding for the national and regional Climate Adaptation Science Centers (CASCS) eliminating all of $38 million allocated for research. CASCs provides actionable science and research that directly addresses many of the climate-related challenges unique to different regions of the country. Trump wants to kill the budget for all but one of the 8 regional centers.  Eliminating the regional centers would jeopardize important research on how the earth is changing, as well as how wildlife is being impacted by climate change.  As quoted by The Hill, Aaron Weiss, deputy director at the Center for Western Priorities, an environmental watchdog group said this is par for the course.  "They have a track record of doing this," Weiss is quoted as saying. "In a normal administration, you wouldn't blow up eight other regional climate centers without going through Congress. I don't know exactly what they’re going to do, but, this being their wishlist, I won't be surprised if they try to put some of it into action without approval from Congress." 

Sending a signal

"The presidential budget is all about sending signals," Joel Clement, a whistleblower who left the Interior Department told The Hill. "The signal they’re trying to send is: We do not value climate science." The good news is that Congress determines budgetary spending and Trump's previous budgets have been largely ignored by lawmakers.  However, this budget  reaffirms that this president does not care about the health and safety of average Americans, nor does he care about climate change, sea level rise, pollution or extreme weather. "Congress should toss this Trump budget into the dustbin of history like they've done with the other ones," former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. "This president is putting our families and communities at risk by taking direct aim at the environment, public health and energy innovation. It is unconscionable to take such drastic cuts to EPA, the Energy Department and other agencies that keep us safe, protect our kids and grow our clean energy economy," she added. "At a time when we're only seeing greater risks from climate change, these agencies deserve to be fully funded by Congress." McCarthy is now with the NRDC. 

Trump's 2020 Budget Cuts Target Climate Science and Environmental Programs
Trump's 2019 Budget Seeks to Erode Environmental Protections and Kill Climate Action
Trump's 2018 Budget Cuts are a Declaration of War Against Environmental Protections, Climate Action and Scientific Research

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