Published on March 9th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
Donald Trump Squeezing Funding For Coast Guard, EPA, NOAA, & DOE
March 9th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
Donald Trump’s new administration has begun to exert itself on the country’s federal agencies, with preliminary budget proposals including funding cuts to everything from the US Coast Guard to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Energy.
Covering Donald Trump’s White House can be difficult, lately, because you never know whether to cover every single piece of news or wait a few days, and round up the news. The problem is, if you cover every single decision made these days, you’ll be flat off your feet within hours, and if you wait, the question then becomes when will the news stop coming so I can actually write up everything that has happened.
This has been the situation for the last few days for me, as I have watched announcements and rumors of budget and funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Coast Guard, and even the Department of Energy (not to mention cuts to non-CleanTechnica-related agencies such as HUD).
We’ve already covered heavily the dramatic about-face happening at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) underneath Scott ‘Fossil Fuel Puppet’ Pruitt, but the most recent news is that the budget for the EPA could be squeezed to the point of reducing funding for many of the agency’s core programs by 20% to 30% each, and eliminating other programs altogether. Further reports suggest the overall EPA budget could be slashed by 24% and would be forced to reduce its staff by 20%. Another report has quoted figures such as reducing spending for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development by more than 40% — unsurprisingly targeting projects dealing with climate change, air and water quality, and chemical safety. EPA’s $50 million external grant program for environmental scientists at universities would also disappear entirely.
Joining the EPA on the financial cutting block is the country’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the world’s premiere environment and climate monitoring and research institutions. Reports suggest that the Trump administration is looking to slash NOAA’s budget by 17%, focusing on funding cuts to research and satellite programs — vital programs that have kept the world’s scientific community up to date on climate and environmental degradation.
Donald Trump is also looking to the Coast Guard for some spare cash that would be intended to pay for his border wall. The Coast Guard would likely see its budget cut by 14%, and would be joined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which would see its own budget cut by around 11%.
Finally, reports today show that the administration is also looking to cut the budget of the Department of Energy. Specifically, according to Bloomberg, the budget cuts would be focused on a division within the Energy Department that has funded technological research into projects such as LED light bulbs and plug-in electric trucks. According to people ‘familiar with the matter’, the DoE’s budget would be cut by at least $700 million — out of an existing budget of around $2.1 billion a year. Bloomberg, quoting Scott Sklar, the chairman of the steering committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition, suggests that the cuts could be even more severe — a cut of $1.4 billion.
Budget cuts are not in and of themselves unusual for a new and incoming administration. Each new President will have their own budgetary priorities that will see one agency or another face financial restrictions. However, President Trump’s focus on targeting agencies with some role in monitoring, protecting, and researching the climate and environment is further sign that any hope we had his stance on these issues might soften was wishful thinking all along.