A source familiar with ongoing White House discussions has asserted that the administration of President Donald Trump plans on cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency budget that go beyond the initial reports of 25 percent.
On March 2, the National Association of Clean Air Agencies provided a copy of the administration's 2018 budget proposal that indicated a $2 billion cut to the EPA budget and reducing the agency's workforce by 3,000, according to Oregon Live.
The potential cuts include the scaling back of funding for EPA projects, including the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, environmental education in public schools, grants that have help states transition away from diesel emissions, and tests for bacteria in beaches nationwide.
In 2016, funding for the EPA was $8.1 billion, only 0.2 percent of the federal budget. 52 percent of EPA expenditures in 2016 went to clean and safe water, 23 percent to preserving and restoring land, and 12 percent to maintaining clean air, according to National Geographic.
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On March 14, an anonymous source familiar with the Trump administration's budget discussions told the Associate Press that even deeper cuts of the EPA budget were being considered.
"They [the EPA career employees] just have to deal with it, because this was coming," the source said.
Another source close to the EPA told CNN that cuts that go beyond 25 percent could negatively impact contractors who do business with the agency.
"A lot of small businesses are going to be impacted," the source said.
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Trump has yet to decide on a final 2018 budget proposal. The White House has called for increasing defense spending by $54 billion while cutting non-defense agencies by $54 billion, including the EPA, to offset a deficit. Congress would need to approve of the budget in order for the cuts to be instituted.
On March 9, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt sparked controversy when he asserted that there was no scientific consensus that man-made carbon emissions contribute to climate change.
"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see," Pruitt told CNBC.
The Senate Climate Action Task Force, Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, blasted Pruitt for his comment.
"Anyone who denies over a century's worth of established science and basic fact is unqualified to be the administrator of the EPA," Schatz said in a statement. "Now more than ever, the Senate needs to stand up to Scott Pruitt and his dangerous views."