Trump Budget Calls for Big EPA Funding Cut, Limits on DOE Funding

Funding for the Environmental Protection Agency would be cut by $2.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2018 under the first of a series of budget documents to be released this spring by President Donald Trump. The budget would also eliminate or reduce funding for certain Department of Energy programs.

Overall, federal funding for non-defense energy programs would be cut 18 percent and for the EPA by 31 percent in Fiscal Year 2018 under the budget.

The so-called “skinny budget” released March 16 outlines the Administration’s broad budget priorities for discretionary spending for 2018.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget said that the full budget, including specific entitlement spending and tax proposals and discretionary spending priorities beyond 2018, will be released later this spring.
The document released on March 16 starts to fill in the broad outlines announced by the Administration late last month, including a 10 percent increase in defense spending and an 11 percent cut to non-defense discretionary programs. But the document does not include the details of a traditional budget release.

EPA, DOE funding cuts

The budget would slash funding for the EPA by $2.6 billion, which is an increase from the $2 billion in cuts discussed in February.

With respect to the DOE, the budget would eliminate funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, the Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program and the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.

The White House said that the private sector “is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies.”

The budget proposes cutting $900 million from the DOE’s Office of Science.

It also limits funding for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and Fossil Energy Research and Development program to early-stage applied energy research and development activities.

It also eliminates the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program, changes which collectively reduce spending by $2 billion.

The budget offers no details about funding levels for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, but says it supports the Office’s “capacity to carry out cybersecurity and grid resiliency activities that would help harden and evolve critical grid infrastructure that the American people and the economy rely upon.”

Infrastructure investment

The budget document does not apparently include provisions intended to increase infrastructure investment that the President has identified as a top priority.

According to the document, the Trump Administration is still evaluating “investment options along with commonsense regulatory, administrative, organizational, and policy changes to encourage investment and speed project delivery.”

The document says that the infrastructure proposal will be designed to ensure that “all levels of government maximize leverage to get the best deals and exercise vigorous oversight.”

Nuclear waste repository

Meanwhile, the budget would provide $120 million to restart licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and initiate a robust interim storage program.

“These investments would accelerate progress on fulfilling the federal government’s obligations to address nuclear waste, enhance national security, and reduce future taxpayer burden,” the budget document states.

Reposted with permission from Public Power Daily

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