White House: Climate Funding Is ‘A Waste of Your Money’

Pam Wright
Published: March 17, 2017

Despite years of research proving that climate change is real, the White House defended a proposal Thursday to slash federal funding for climate change programs, deeming it “a waste of your money.”

“I think the president was fairly straightforward on that: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said during a White House briefing Thursday.

“We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that. We consider that a basic tie to his campaign.”

The comments came after the release Thursday of President Donald Trump's budget, a plan named "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. Among program cuts that target scientific research, the arts, foreign aid and programs to help the poor, the Trump administration proposes a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including a $100 million cut to climate change programs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Coast Guard are also facing deep cuts if Congress approves. 

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The plan would reduce EPA's compliance enforcement budget by $129 million and eliminate funding for regional efforts like Great Lakes restoration, Chesapeake Bay and other geographic programs by $427 million.

Weeks earlier, insiders at the EPA said they expected a 25 percent cut. Instead, Trump went with 31 percent. 

The proposal would cut $2.6 billion from the agency, along with 3,200 fewer jobs, leaving a 2018 budget of $5.7 billion.

Other cuts in the proposed budget also target climate change, including zero funding for State Department climate change programs. This cut eliminates contributions to international climate change programs, along with funding for advanced energy and renewable power research. 

Not surprisingly, environmentalists, as well as some members of Congress, have blasted the budget, saying it is irresponsible to cut funding for climate change when there is plenty of evidence of increasing global temperatures, as well as the greenhouse gas emissions that cause that.

“Money talks, and Trump’s budget proposal screams that the only thing that matters in his America is corporate polluters’ profits and Wall Street billionaires,” said the Sierra Club's executive director Michael Brune. “If Trump refuses to be serious about protecting our health and climate, or our publicly owned lands, then Congress must act, do its job and reject this rigged budget.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “Democrats in Congress will emphatically oppose these cuts & urge our Republican colleagues to reject them as well.”

Environmentalists are counting on Congress to override much of what is being proposed. There has been pushback from both parties, particularly regarding the proposed EPA cuts. 

Trump has long voiced doubts about the validity of evidence supporting climate change.

In addition to cuts in the budget, Trump is set to roll back several key climate rules, including one meant to take a bite out of greenhouse gasses through emissions regulations on new vehicles

The $1.1 trillion budget outline proposes a $54 billion increase in defense spending, paid for through cuts to non-defense spending at the State Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the EPA, along with the elimination of other federal programs.

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