WASHINGTON – In testimony before a House committee today, Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler defended President Trump’s proposed 31 percent budget cut to the agency.
The president’s budget “returns the agency to its core mission,” Wheeler told members of the House Appropriations Committee.
The White House proposal, released last month, would cut the EPA’s budget from $8.9 billion to $6.1 billion – the largest cut for any federal agency. If adopted, it would be the smallest budget for EPA in nearly 30 years. In 1991, EPA’s budget was $6 billion and the U.S. population was 253 million, compared to today’s population of more than 326 million.
“As the nation’s population has grown, the environmental and public health challenges caused by pollution have grown even greater,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Wheeler should be pushing for more resources so that EPA can tackle the crises of toxic chemicals, contaminated drinking water and climate change. It’s shocking and alarming to see the nation’s top environmental officer telling Congress he wants far fewer resources to protect the public from dirty water and air and dangerous chemicals.”
The EPA spending cuts in Trump’s 2020 budget proposal include:
- Slashing more than $220 million from programs focused on research on PFAS chemicals.
- Cutting funds to the agency’s air office by 40 percent.
- Eliminating funding for vital programs under the Toxics Risk Review and Prevention programs, including the Pollution Prevention, Endocrine Disruptors and Lead Risk Reduction programs.
- Slashing funding for the Atmospheric Protection Program, which tracks annual greenhouse gas emissions, by 90 percent.
- Cutting funding for EPA’s air and energy research program, which includes climate change research, by two-thirds.
- Decreasing state and local grants for combating air pollution by one-third, from $228 million to $152 million.
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