Regulation, Regulation - March 1, 2017
Trump takes aim at EPA budget, regulations
President Donald Trump has proposed a 24% cut to the U.S. EPA's budget and on Feb. 28 signed an executive order instructing the agency to rewrite an Obama-era water jurisdiction rule, multiple news outlets have reported.
Citing sources familiar with Trump's budget plan, Politico reported Feb. 27 that it would lay off 20% of the EPA's employees and would set the agency's budget at $6.1 billion, down from its current level of $8.1 billion. The plan would be subject to Congressional approval.
The Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS, had designated the bodies of water that EPA has jurisdiction over, and had been opposed by farmers, ranchers and home builders, according to CNBC. Trump's executive order calls on the agency, now led by former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to formally reconsider the rule, which could lead to a rewrite or outright repeal.
"With today's executive order I'm directing the EPA to take action paving the way for the elimination of this very destructive and horrible rule," Trump said, according to NBC News.
The moves follow President Trump's campaign rhetoric around the agency, which he had referred to as overgrown, overreaching and a threat to U.S. industry and jobs. He had also floated abolishing the entire agency, according to the former head of his EPA transition team, Myron Ebell.
The Hill, along with The New York Times and other publications, have reported that the actions are considered to be the first of many that will at the very least downsize the role of the agency. According to The Hill, the EPA actions combined with two prior executive orders fast-tracking two controversial oil and gas pipeline projects have Democrats and environmentalists braced for continued actions aimed at reversing course on the climate-related initiatives of President Obama.
"I always took him very seriously when it came to his desire to dismantle the Clean Air and the Clean Water Act, and he's going to try to go through with it," Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, told The Hill.
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