Trump's budget could cut 3,000 staff from the EPA, report suggests

Trump's budget proposal is expected to cut $2 billion and 20 percent of staff from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report from E&E News.

As reported by the New York Times, the administration's forthcoming budget proposal is expected to ramp up military spending by $54 billion, and impose steep cuts on non-military agencies.

E&E News got new details about the budget's likely impact on the EPA from sources informed about the plan. A 20 percent staff decrease would mean layoffs of 3,000 employees, and a $2 billion cut would reduce the EPA budget by about 25 percent from its current $8.1 billion. For comparison, the 2016 Department of Agriculture budget was $140 billion, the State Department's was about $50 billion, and NASA's was about $18 billion. The Pentagon budget, which includes military spending, was $560 billion.

About 74 percent of the EPA's annual budget funds grants to states, tribes, and government contractors for cleanup and preparedness efforts. The remainder goes to staff payroll, scientific studies, and other expenses.

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Director of Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt
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Director of Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), speaks to employees of the Agency in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), greets employees of the agency in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Director of Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt is sworn in by Justice Samuel Alito as his wife Marilyn holds a bible during ceremony at the Executive Office in Washington, U.S., February 17, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), greets employees of the agency in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pick as head of the Environmental Protectional Agency, meets with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifies before a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, U.S., January 18, 2017.

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), meets with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) (L) in her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pick as head of the Environmental Protectional Agency, meets with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2017.

(REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Oklahoma Farm Bureau Vice President of Public Policy John R.H. Collison (L) meets with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) to discuss state water issues at the attorney generals office in Oklahoma City, July 29, 2014.

(REUTERS/Nick Oxford)

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in a meeting at his office in Oklahoma City, July 29, 2014. 

(REUTERS/Nick Oxford)

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The reduction in staff would take the agency from about 15,000 employees to 12,000. While significant, that decrease is less severe than those previously hinted by transition officials — rumors had suggested the agency could be cut to just 5,000 employees.

Since 2010, the EPA has already decreased its operating budget by $2.1 billion — at the time, its expenses totaled $10.2 billion.

Trump's budget proposal, of course, would not immediately become law once released. Rather, it presents a framework that Congress can vote on.

According to E&E News, Gina McCarthy, the former EPA chief under Obama, said that if the Trump administration believes the budget won't hinder the EPA's mission to protect public health, it's a "fantasy."

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