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EPA’s Plan to Implement Trump’s Proposed Budget Signals Massive Change

President Trump’s recent budget proposal and a more detailed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) memo regarding its implementation portend a potentially seismic shift in federal environmental priorities and programs. The President’s “Budget Blueprint,” which summarizes his request to Congress for fiscal year 2018 appropriations, seeks to cut nearly one-third ($2.6 billion) of EPA’s funding compared with current levels.  It would eliminate more than 50 programs, defund the Clean Power Plan, and eliminate 3,200 full-time jobs.  EPA has begun preparation to implement Trump’s plan, signaling the dramatic changes that may be seen at the agency should Congress approve a budget substantially similar to the administration’s proposal.

EPA’s Acting Chief Financial Officer, David A. Bloom, laid out the beginnings of EPA’s plan to implement the budget in an internal memorandum dated March 21, 2017. The memorandum contemplates cutting many significant programs entirely.  Those slated for elimination include:

  • numerous categorical grants, totaling almost $500 million, to many cash-strapped states;

  • regional programs such as the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; and

  • EPA’s Climate Protection and Waste Minimization and Recycling programs, among others.

Trump’s Budget Blueprint calls for the complete defunding of the “Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts….” While not eliminated entirely, other efforts may be changed drastically.  The Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance would see more than one-fifth of its budget vanish, a reduction of about $129 million.  In addition, federal funding for the Superfund program would be cut by roughly one-third, or about $330 million, compared to current levels.

Some programs may see increases. For example, EPA’s plan seeks a $14 million increase for chemical safety reviews related to the Toxic Substances Control Act reform legislation.  Likewise, the proposal calls for increased funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Although the budget is subject to change during the Congressional review process, the President’s proposal and EPA’s proposed implementation of it make clear that the President intends to follow through on his campaign promises to roll back environmental regulation. Among other things, the EPA budget memorandum also highlights the goals of returning EPA to its “core statutory requirements” and bringing the responsibility to fund local environmental initiatives back to the states.

© 2020 Beveridge & Diamond PC National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 96

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About this Author

John N. Hanson Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC
Principal

John focuses his practice on civil trial and appellate litigation and environmental law.

He is former Chairman of the firm's Litigation group and has served several terms on the firm's Management Committee.

John has over forty years of federal and state trial and appellate work in the public and private sectors, covering a range of areas including: environmental, antitrust, unfair trade and advertising, product liability, securities, shareholder derivative, government contracts, energy, personal injury, parallel civil and criminal, and general economic matters. He has...

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Daniel M. Krainin Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond New York, NY
Principal

Dan deploys more than two decades of environmental litigation experience to resolve clients’ legal and business challenges.

Primarily focused on environmental and toxic tort litigation, Dan helps clients successfully resolve groundwater contamination, hazardous waste site remediation, natural resource damages, permit defense and product-related matters. He enjoys using his skills as a litigator to help clients solve environmental problems.

Among his many wins, Dan successfully led a team that defeated an emergency challenge to a permit that Dan’s client needed to continue its operations. The favorable result that Dan and his team achieved allowed the client to avoid losing millions of dollars’ worth of production.

In a toxic tort case involving an alleged international conspiracy, Dan led a successful briefing effort that resulted in early dismissal of all claims against his clients, saving them from protracted litigation and protecting their reputation.

While focusing his practice on litigation, Dan also provides practical and actionable advice designed to minimize environmental risk and potential liabilities. 

An active member of various bar associations, Dan is a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Environmental Litigation and Toxic Torts Committee, and currently co-chairs the New York State Bar Association Environment Section’s Toxic Torts Committee. Dan has also served as a member of the firm’s Management Committee.

Before joining Beveridge & Diamond, Dan clerked for The Honorable Carlos R. Moreno, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California. Prior to attending law school, Dan served as editor-in-chief of the environmental news service Greenwire.

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Jacob P. Duginski Environmental Attorney Beveridge & Diamond San Francisco, CA
Associate

Jake maintains a diverse regulatory and litigation practice providing client-centered, solution-driven advice.

He litigates before California’s trial and appellate courts, advises on regulatory compliance with a focus on California-specific issues, and represents clients in various administrative enforcement settings. His practice philosophy is to provide sound, timely, actionable advice with sensitivity to each individual client’s business needs. 

Clean Air, Climate Change, and CEQA

Clients who operate in California routinely find themselves with...

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