Donald Trump budget cuts would eviscerate EPA staff, leaked docs reveal

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President Donald Trump's planned 31% cut to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget would result in the agency losing over a quarter of its staff and ending 56 programs, including pesticide and water-runoff regulations, the Washington Post reported.

Internal EPA documents obtained by the paper show the EPA would cut more than half of the regulators working on the enforcement of vehicle-emissions standards and fund the program mainly using "fees paid by the automakers themselves." The cuts would also defund the popular Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and lower the budget for the EPA's Science Advisory Board by a stunning 84% — mainly because the cuts would dramatically lower the number of EPA scientific reports that need to be reviewed.

Acting EPA Chief Financial Officer David A. Bloom wrote in the documents the cuts would re-align the agency more narrowly with its "core legal requirements" and devolve more regulatory control to states and localities. (Though as the New York Times recently noted, those states and localities heavily depend upon EPA assistance to accomplish their missions.)

Trump's EPA chief, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is a longtime critic of the EPA. He sued the agency 13 times, challenging its authority to regulate everything from toxic mercury to carbon emissions from power plants.

However, some conservatives working with Pruitt have become concerned he is not extreme enough to totally hobble the agency, CNN recently reported, and have demanded even more aggressive spending cuts and regulatory rollbacks.