EPA budget plan to be reviewed by House subcommittee

Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin and others on a House subcommittee will hear from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler this week to discuss the White House’s fiscal 2021 budget plan.

Rep. Mullin, a Republican from eastern Oklahoma, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change where Wheeler will testify on Thursday.

Under Trump’s budget, EPA would receive close to $6.7 billion — about a 27% cut from its current funding of nearly $9.1 billion.

EPA’s categorical grants, which help fund state environment programs, would be cut almost in half, down to $605 million.

Its Superfund program, meant to clean up toxic waste sites, would lose $113 million, leaving it with about $1 billion in funding. And various climate change-related partnership efforts would be eliminated.

Also under the budget request, EPA’s overall workforce would fall to 12,610 employees, comparable to Reagan-era levels.

Neither the House nor the Senate is expected to vote on a budget resolution this spring; instead, it’s anticipated they will adhere to spending levels negotiated last year.

House Democratic appropriators sent out a fact sheet warning that the budget calls for “massive cuts and outright elimination” of programs aimed at protecting the environment and combating the climate crisis according to E and E News.

Trump’s proposal would fully fund EPA’s Great Lakes cleanup effort, which has long held bipartisan support, and the agency’s South Florida program, while giving limited funding to the Chesapeake Bay. Other geographic programs would again be zeroed out.

Democrats said they will push Wheeler on contamination by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), unsafe drinking water and climate change.

“The Trump Administration’s proposal to slash EPA’s budget by a staggering 27 percent ignores the reality that our climate is in crisis and our communities are at risk from EPA inaction,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.

“The American people deserve to hear why this Administration is not taking the health and safety of their families and communities seriously.”

Source: E and E News