Monday, April 10, 2017

Trump's 1st Budget Now in Congress (March 16): Should Have Been DOA

Resemblance: EPA chief Scott Pruitt (L) and Bela “Dracula” Lugosi (R)
(The hands, the hands, it's the hands)

Yeah, this Scott Pruitt (New EPA Administrator)

Introduction: EPA is under direct attack and mostly from within like reported on from the NY TIMES and from the LA TIMES.

WASHINGTON — Days after the Senate confirmed him as administrator of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, appeared at the CPAC Conference and when he was asked about addressing a group that probably wanted to eliminate EPA, he responded this way: “I think it’s justified. I think people across the country look at the EPA the way they look at the IRS.” (The CPAC cheered like crazy).
(I Note: That is a crazy view to hold. Pruitt cannot presume or pretend to know what people think about the EPA or the IRS — we all hate the IRS (smile).
In the days since, Pruitt, the former OK AG, who built a career out of suing the EPA has moved quickly to stock the top offices of the agency with like-minded conservatives, many of whom are skeptics about climate change and all of them intent on rolling back environmental regulations that they see as overly intrusive and harmful to business.
(I Note: Harmful to business. WTF: How about harmful to human life)?
Pruitt has drawn heavily from the staff of his friend and fellow Oklahoma Republican, Sen. James Inhofe, Mr. Science Denier Bigtime, who is also known as Congress’s most prominent skeptic of climate science. A former Inhofe chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, for example will now become Pruitt’s CofS at EPA.
Another former Inhofe staff member, Byron Brown, will serve as Jackson’s deputy.
(I Note: Nice and cozy, um?).
Andrew Wheeler, a fossil fuel lobbyist and a former Inhofe chief of staff, is a finalist to be Pruitt’s deputy administrator, although he requires confirmation to the position by the Senate
Now sprinkle in this from Trump:Climate Change is a Chinese Hoax who is making these appointments and his first budget proposal to Congress, wherein he plans to cut the EPA and under his axe: Cut their overall budget by some 31% (to $5.7 billion from $8.1 billion), and eliminate a quarter of the agency’s 15,000 jobs.

(I Note: Yeah, that Donald J. Trump – the “Mr. Job Creator”)…!!!

NOTE: Trump later said his mention of China’s role was a joke, but he has a lengthy record of using the word “hoax” to describe climate change. 

FYI: Politifact in 2014 rated his claim that climate change is a “hoax as Pants on Fire.
On December 30, 2015, Trump told the crowd at a rally in Hilton Head, SC, “Obama's talking about all of this with the global warming and … a lot of it's a hoax. It's a hoax. I mean, it's a money-making industry, okay? It's a hoax, a lot of it.”
That’s three times using “hoax” in one sentence.
Trump has also used the word on Twitter since his 2012 tweet.
On Jan. 25, 2014, Trump tweeted, “NBC News just called it the great freeze — coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?”

Some Specific Areas in the Trump Budget Proposal to go bye, bye or their missions reduced:

1.  Federal vehicle and fuels standards: It has been barely a year since Volkswagen agreed to pay as much as $14.7 billion to settle claims stemming from its diesel emissions cheating scandal, and the EPA has accused a second automaker, Fiat Chrysler, of evading emissions standards. But the proposed budget cuts would all but eliminate the $48.7 million federal budget for vehicle tests and certification. The Trump budget foresees getting automakers themselves to pay for testing through fees.

(I Note: Getting those potentially guilty likes the VW cheating to pay vs the EPA, well isn’t that like hiring Fox to guard the hen house or known bank robbers to act as bank security guard – hey just asking.)

Even if automakers agree to that, it takes time to set up, and any funding shortfall in the meantime would mean a significant paring back of the work at EPA’s emissions testing labs that now work to catch cheaters.

2.  Tap water: Case in point: Flint, MI – still reeling from its tainted water crisis, and unsafe levels of lead have turned up in tap water in others places: city after city.
Still, the EPA is looking to decrease grants that help states monitor public water systems by almost a third, to $71 million from $102 million, according to an internal agency memo first obtained by The Washington Post.
The Public Water System Supervision Grant Program has been critical in making sure communities have access to safe drinking water.
In Texas, for example, state-contracted workers collect drinking water samples across the state, an effort funded in part by federal grants.
Much of the risk to the country’s water supply stems from its crumbling public water infrastructure: a networks of pipes, treatment plants and other facilities built decades ago. Although Congress banned lead pipes in 1986, between 3.3 million and 10 million older ones remain, primed to leach lead into tap water.
3.  Criminal and civil enforcement: Sharp cuts in the agency’s enforcement programs could curtail its ability to police environmental offenders and impose penalties. The budget proposal reduces spending on civil and criminal enforcement by almost 60 percent, to $4 million from a combined $10 million. It also eliminates 200 jobs.
For example, just recently, EPA fined Sunoco Pipeline, a subsidiary of the operator behind the Dakota Access pipeline, nearly $1 million over a 2012 spill. The spill sent 1,950 barrels of gasoline into two waterways near Wellington, OH forcing the evacuation of 70 people.
One activity that could get an increase is the security for Pruitt, EPA administrator who seeks 10 additional full-time staff members for a round-the-clock security detail — a first for an EPA chief, who usually has only door-to-door protection, thus more than doubling infrastructure and operations staff.
Story continues on the proposed cuts here.
Worthwhile to check it out.

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