The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies and programs relevant to the hydroelectric power sector all see funding cuts in the federal budget proposal released yesterday by President Donald Trump.
If approved by Congress, the EPA would take the biggest hit of any federal department, with a 31.4% — or $2.6 billion — decrease in funding from Fiscal Year 2017. The proposal eliminates 3,200 jobs and reflects Trump’s stated goal of minimizing the EPA, which began on the campaign trail and continued with the confirmation of former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt as EPA head in February.
Newly-confirmed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke would see his department’s budgets slashed to $11.6 billion, or 11.7%, after increases the past five years and an allocation of $13.1 billion in FY 2017. Zinke told Interior staffers earlier this month that he had seen a preliminary version of the budget — at which point cuts to Interior were reported as being around 10% — and that he was “not happy.”
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also take a cut of 16.3%, equating to a loss of $1 billion.
Other hydropower-related programs with funding reduced or eliminated under Trump’s FY 2018 budget proposal include:
- The Clean Power Plan;
- The U.S. Trade and Development Agency;
- The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E);
- The Department of Energy’s State Energy Program;
- The Global Climate Change Initiative;
- Funding for the World Bank and other international finance groups, equating to $650 million over the next three years;
- Funding for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) local and state grant funding, including the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program
- Regional EPA programs, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; and
- The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, amongst others.
The budget would reduce federal spending by $54 billion from FY 2017, though it has been met with a lukewarm reception by many even from Trump’s party given the impact it could have on a number of other federally-funded programs.
“While we have a responsibility to reduce our federal deficit, I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the president’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive,” said Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky. “We will certainly review this budget proposal, but Congress ultimately has the power of the purse.”