WASHINGTON — President Trump isn’t just keeping a campaign promise to roll back climate change regulations. He appears to be moving ahead to do away with the science behind the effort.
The White House has drafted a preliminary budget blueprint that would hack hundreds of millions of research dollars out of the EPA and other agencies tracking the effects of global warming in what would be a stark contrast to the policies under President Obama.
Environmental activists say rolling back rules designed to protect health and ecology is bad enough. But gutting the fact-finding and academic analysis behind the rules poses far-reaching consequences.
"If the Trump administration pulls the plug on this, the world goes dark," said David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Among the proposed cuts the White House could unveil Thursday as part of its official budget:
EPA science funding, including half the money for studies of the agency’s Air, Climate, and Energy Research Program. Bill Becker, executive director of the Association of Clean Air Agencies, which includes the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality as a member, was unable to release the proposal from the Trump administration but confirmed the figures.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research funding to support climate research and the satellite programs that provide the basis for the Obama-era policies aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. The cut could be as much as 17%, according to The Washington Post.
NASA programs coordinating the launch of satellites that monitor changes in sea level, carbon levels and air temperatures that help provide the justification for climate change rules.
Such a move would be applauded by key GOP lawmakers who challenge the science behind climate change and the resulting environmental regulations they say have stunted economic growth.
Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republicans who both chair congressional panels that oversee the space program, have each called for NASA to transfer earth science to other agencies so it can focus on deep space exploration.
Some of those reported cuts could change based on review and comment from individual agencies. But environmental activists are not optimistic the proposal coming out next week will change from earlier drafts that make good on the president’s campaign promises to roll back “job-killing” environmental regulations.
Trump vowed in October to “cancel all wasteful climate change spending from Obama-Clinton, including all global warming payments to the United Nations.”
The president said cutting such funding would save $100 billion over eight years, money that could be used “to help rebuild the vital infrastructure, including water systems, in America’s inner cities,” he said during last year’s presidential campaign. More recently, Trump is trying to find ways of supporting a $54 billion increase in Defense spending without raising taxes.