In January, we wrote a post about EPA operations during the transition to the Trump administration. At that time, the Associated Press cited an EPA official for the news that pollution cleanup projects would continue. However, now we face a new phase during which it is uncertain how EPA and its Superfund responsibilities will be impacted.
The Federal Budget
In March, the Trump administration released a preliminary 2018 budget in which it proposed reducing the Superfund budget by one-third, which would cut the $1.1 billion allotted to Superfund by $330 million. In fact, the entire EPA budget would be cut by a third.
According to USA Today, the administration says that EPA can reduce “administrative costs and improve efficiencies” and work with states to speed up Superfund cleanup projects. New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly still supports the Superfund program, but wants to study how cleanup can go faster, reports USA Today. The newspaper also cites an internal EPA memo that says the Superfund cuts should be split among assessments, community grants and “revisions to existing guidance documents.”
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are reportedly expressing concern over these proposed EPA cuts. While the budget approval process is likely to change these numbers, many people are concerned about inadequate funding for federal government responsibility for serious environmental cleanup, including Superfund sites containing asbestos and other toxins.
We will continue to report here on developments impacting these concerns.