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Trump, citing 'redundancies,' again proposes steep cuts to EPA

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- The White House is proposing to cut spending on the Environmental Protection Agency by about a quarter from recent levels, to $6.15 billion, while scrapping an array of programs that it says have outlived their usefulness.

As much as $598.5 million worth of EPA programs and activities would be eliminated under the Trump administration budget request released Tuesday. The agency said in a news release that it was working to identify unspecified programs "that create unnecessary redundancies or those that have served their purpose and accomplished their mission."

The release didn't include comparative figures from its current budget. The agency's overall spending has hovered at about $8 billion for years; the last time it was close to $6 billion was in fiscal year 1991, under former President George H.W. Bush.

This isn't the first time the Trump administration has sought to slash funding at the agency, but Congress may set a speed record for tossing the proposal into the circular file. A bipartisan budget deal signed into law last week sets the stage for more spending on most domestic accounts -- not less.

Lawmakers plan to send an omnibus spending plan for the remainder of this year to President Donald Trump's desk by March 23, when the latest stopgap bill expires.

Programs slated for cuts last year by the administration include the EPA's voluntary climate programs and its work on the Energy Star program that labels and certifies the efficiency of consumer products. The Trump administration also called for the elimination of a lead risk reduction program that helps educate the public and contractors about removing lead paint from buildings.

 

Meanwhile, the Trump administration this year is asking for $1.1 billion in funding to help clean up toxic land under the Superfund Program that aims to rehab some of the most contaminated sites in the United States. Administrator Scott Pruitt has celebrated the cleanup of Superfund sites that is the culmination of years of work, and told senators last month that he wants to "get accountability" and provide direction to get more remediation finished.

(With assistance from Steven T. Dennis.)

(c)2018 Bloomberg News

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