WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Trump has begun to fulfill his campaign promise of lowering the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and rolling back environmental regulations.
The president, according to sources familiar with the plans, will slash the EPA’s budget by 24 percent, with a reduction of $2 billion from its current budget of $8.1 billion. The agency’s workforce would reportedly fall by one-fifth, with spending down to Ronald Reagan-era levels.
The president’s budget must be approved by Congress, but more than half the EPA’s budget, according the New York Times, is distributed through popular state restoration and environmental programs. It is still unclear whether congressional Republicans will approve such strong cuts.
On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order asking the EPA, and its new leader Scott Pruitt, to review and rewrite the 2015 Waters of the United States rules, a major effort in former President Obama’s environmental legacy. The regulation was meant to give the federal government the authority to limit pollution of about 60 percent of the country’s bodies of water.
The Times reported sources familiar with the order said there will be almost no immediate effect legally, and that the executive orders serve as a signal of what the president would like to see done.
Trump is also expected to ask Pruitt to revise Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which asks states to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Pruitt, the former attorney general of Oklahoma, was confirmed by the Senate to lead the EPA, and has been involved in 14 lawsuits against the agency.