President Donald Trump has submit his 2020 budget proposal to Congress, and it includes reductions in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also proposes to eliminate ARPA-E, an agency focused on researching and developing future energy technology.
Trump’s budget, titled “A Budget for a Better America,” requests $6.1 billion for the EPA — a 31 percent decrease from 2019 levels. Despite the large proposed reduction in funding, Trump’s EPA already released a statement of support for the budget. Former coal lobbyist and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said,
“This commonsense budget proposal would support the agency as it continues to work with states, tribes and local governments to protect human health and the environment.”
Keep in mind, this is an EPA which recently announced a record high in U.S. fuel economy while maintaining a focus on cost-effectiveness for automakers and seeks to freeze fuel economy standards.
There are, of course, other environmental concerns in the budget, including proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As The Hill notes, the budget proposes eliminating the NOAA’s Sea Grant, its Coastal Zone Management Grants — which help with climate change and ocean planning — and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
Trump’s budget also proposes killing off the EV federal tax credit — more on that here.
Trump’s budget calls for an 11 percent decrease in funding for the Department of Energy, and that decrease includes calling for the complete elimination of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
ARPA-E describes itself as an agency that “advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees are unique because they are developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy.” One example of the agency’s work: it would be overseeing recently announced funding to develop and research new floating wind turbines.
Trump’s budget argues eliminating ARPA-E would “promote effective and efficient use of taxpayer funds.” The budget claims it would “integrate the positive aspects of ARPA-E into DOE’s applied energy research programs.” But what that means is unclear.
It was reported last week that the budget would also look to cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by 70 percent. That office falls under the DOE.
As we’ve mentioned before, many — if not all of — the environmental and energy cuts proposed in the Trump budget may not actually come to fruition. Some of the agencies may end up getting more money than before, as we’ve seen in the case of the EERE last year. We’ll see where they end up when all is said and done. But the priorities of the Trump administration remain clear.