By Peak Johnson
In order to increase federal spending for the military, President Donald Trump has proposed significant cuts to the U.S. EPA.
The Hill reported that, according to Politico and E&E News, “Trump officials will propose a $6.1 billion budget for the EPA next year, a $2 billion cut from current levels.”
Newly confirmed EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said last month “that he would work to end several regulatory efforts that the agency has in the works.” If the cuts do actually take place then it is possible that “the agency’s budget would be at its lowest level since the early 1990s, and its staffing levels would be lower than any time since the 1980s.”
According to The Huffington Post, a policy memo that had been leaked to Axios detailed plans to cut millions of dollars from the EPA’s budget. Aside from cuts to a variety of grants to states and Native American tribes, Trump is thinking of closing the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Pruitt said that because of the EPA’s actions under the previous administration “the proposals to abolish the EPA were ‘justified.’”
“I think people across this country look at the EPA much as they look at the IRS,” Pruitt is quoted as saying during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. “There are going to be some big steps taken to address some of those regulations.”
Among other things, the office deals with the Clean Water Act, the Oil and Pollution Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Republican lawmakers have made the argument of shrinking the agency, “insisting that environmental protection is a matter best handled at the state level.”
According to a report by Bloomberg BNA, as summarized by The Huffington Post, “Some emailed complaints to the agency, requesting help on issues of drinking water safety, illegal oil dumps, ozone pollution and potential asbestos exposure, went unread for more than a year.”
Bloomberg reported that the “EPA received 149 messages to the inbox during the 13 months in question.”
According to a list obtained by Bloomberg, the complaints included “at least three messages from Michigan residents for help with water for a handicapped child to a burnt scalp injury in Washington state and diesel spills in Texas.”
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