President Donald Trump proposed a $54 billion increase in defense spending Thursday as promised, a plan that the White House says will provide the necessary funding to ramp up the fight against ISIS, improve troop readiness and build new ships and planes.
Released as part of Trump’s $1.1 trillion budget outline for 2018, the 10% boost to the military comes at the expense of deep cuts to non-defense spending at the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and dozens of other federal programs.
The EPA is getting an “absolute hammering” from the Trump administration. That’s how new news site Axios described it Monday morning, and the news has just gotten worse since then.
A leaked copy of the Trump team’s plan for the EPA calls for slashing its budget, “terminating climate programs,” ending auto fuel-economy standards, and executing “major reforms of the agency’s use of science and economics.”
EPA employees have been ordered not to share information via social media, press releases, or new website content, Huffington Post reports.
It’s unclear which of these changes are temporary — just in place until Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt, gets confirmed — and which might be put in place more permanently.
More bad news for the EPA will be coming: A new team that Trump has put in place to shift the agency’s direction includes three former researchers from Koch-funded think tanks, one former mining lobbyist, and a number of people who have argued against climate action, according to Reuters. And Trump is poised to issue executive orders to weaken pollution rules and cut agency budgets, Vox reports.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has dropped its plans to further investigate whether or not fracking led to the contamination of a Wyoming aquifer, and the agency no longer plans to write a report on the matter.
The EPA in 2011 released a draft report, which revealed that hydraulic fracturing fluids used at a shale gas drilling site had likely contaminated groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming. Oil and gas companies have long argued that fracking poses no water contamination risks, but the EPA’s results demonstrated otherwise.
Critics of the findings, including Wyoming state officials and drilling advocates, argued that the EPA conducted a poor and inaccurate study, which could ultimately harm the industry. Despite the initial wave of criticism in 2011, EPA officials planned to resume the study and continue making assessments regarding the influence of fracking on groundwater. But the EPA on Thursday abandoned those plans, announcing that state officials will instead take over the investigation into Pavillion’s water pollution and draw up a conclusion in 2014.