Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington:
- Hillary Clinton speaks in Washington D.C., criticizes Trump's spending plan
- Former Trump advisor Michael Flynn offers to testify in return for immunity
- Trump threatens to fight his own party's hard-right flank in 2018 elections
- Senate Intelligence Committee vows to follow facts in Trump-Russia probe
- Judge in Hawaii extends order blocking Trump's travel ban
- Ivanka Trump gets formal position in White House
President Trump’s budget envisions a rapid retreat from the aggressive federal environmental protection policies developed over the last four decades, to be replaced with hollowed-out enforcement and wholesale elimination of some signature federal conservation efforts.
The Environmental Protection Agency, which accounts for just a small percentage of federal spending, is targeted for some of Trump’s most brutal cuts. Its budget would be shrunk by nearly a third, and its workforce would drop from 15,000 to 12,000.
Communities looking for help cleaning up the national backlog of contaminated properties would find it considerably more difficult as the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account would be slashed by $330 million, a cut of roughly 30%.
Spending on enforcement efforts aimed largely at finding and stopping polluters would also be cut by nearly a third.
The agency’s research arm, which develops the science that underpins environmental health and safety efforts on the federal level, would be shrunk by nearly half.
The federal money Washington has been providing states and Native American tribes to assist with their efforts to clean their water and air, limit exposure to pesticides and toxic substances, and cleanup waste would drop more than 40%.
Large scale cleanup and restoration efforts on iconic waterways such as San Francisco Bay, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay would be scrapped entirely.
“The budget returns the responsibility for funding local environmental efforts and programs to state and local entities, allowing EPA to focus on its highest national priorities,” the budget blueprint says.
In most cases, state and local governments don’t have the funds to pay for those efforts, which cost a total of $427 million annually.
Another 50 smaller environmental programs are also targeted for outright elimination, including infrastructure assistance on the Mexican border, which has been crucial in keeping sewage from flowing into San Diego’s waters and has provided 569,800 homes with access to wastewater treatment.
The 25-year-old Energy Star efficiency program, through which the federal government has partnered with consumers and private firms to save more than $230 billion on utility bills, would also be among the programs eliminated outright.
The budget would also make good on Trump’s promise to retreat from climate action. It discontinues all funding for the landmark Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut power plant emissions, as well as the international climate change programs and climate research.
No president in recent decades has proposed cuts to environmental protection this deep, and even the Republicans who control Congress are chafing at the prospect of so severely gutting the EPA.
Advocacy groups have put them on notice that embracing the plan is a path to political peril.
“Trump's budget proposal would effectively cripple the EPA’s ability to do anything on behalf of public health and environmental protection, and leave local and state governments on their own in fighting climate change, water contamination, air pollution from toxic industries,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group.
“This is not a philosophical debate about regulations or “deconstructing government,” but about our health, our safety and the world we're going to leave to our children,” he said.