GOP’s Budget Cuts Target Clean Air and Water, Create Windfalls for Polluters
The details of the budget deal reached by Republicans and Democrats have been released, and the cuts the Republicans demanded in the Environmental Protection Agency are absolutely grotesque. This is a very clear attack on the scientific institutions that study climate change, and a very clear attempt to remove restrictions on big corporations that dump poison into the air and water: Newly Released Spending Deal Targets Health, Environment, Energy.
One of the hardest hit institutions is the Environmental Protection Agency, whose power Republicans have sought to curtail in recent years through a variety of legislative means. The agency will receive $1.6 billion less in funding than current levels, a 16 percent drop, including a $49 million reduction in climate change programs and $149 million cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In a press release, Senate Appropriation Committee Democrats noted that the EPA cuts, while tough, were nearly $1.6 billion less than Republicans’ original proposal. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also saw a $142 million reduction in funding and is prohibited from creating a Climate Service.
In addition to programs protecting the environment, programs aimed at boosting energy efficiency for power plants and transportation also were major targets. Energy efficiency and renewable energy were cut by $438 million while fossil energy R&D was reduced by $226 million and nuclear energy funding was cut by $56 million. Funding for high speed rail, all $2.9 billion of it, was zeroed out entirely.