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Trump’s Budget Is a Blueprint for Destruction

By Rhea Suh

It may sound like green eyeshades stuff, but the massive budget proposal the White House sends up to Congress each February is a kind of road map to our future. It’s the president’s plan for spending taxpayer dollars to advance his priorities and goals.


President Trump’s proposal

landed with a thud Monday on Capitol Hill, where it should be dead on arrival. It calls for a record $4.4 trillion in spending for the fiscal year that begins in October. It would

spike the federal budget deficit, adding $7.1 trillion

to the national debt in the coming decade. And it would eviscerate environmental and health protections, stifle clean energy research, raid our public waters and lands, and abandon our children to

the growing dangers of climate change

.


That’s the road map to a future none of us wants to see.

Americans believe in responsible public oversight to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink and the world we’ll leave our children. An

overwhelming 85 percent

expect our federal government to do more to protect our environment or at least maintain existing protections.


Trump

, however, calls for gutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (

EPA

), with staff and budget cuts of 21 percent and 24 percent, respectively, as compared with

2017 levels

.

That means fewer people to monitor air and water quality; enforce our laws; and work with lawmakers, local businesses, public advocates and others to respond to emerging threats. Trump would cut by half, for example, the EPA work we all depend on

to protect human health and the environment from cancer-causing radiation

in our

drinking water

, indoor air, and industrial facilities. You don’t strengthen environmental protections by taking the environmental steward off the beat.

And for what? The $1.9 billion Trump wants to cut from EPA spending is

barely one-tenth what he wants taxpayers to fork out

over the next two years to build

his “great wall”

to divide us from our Mexican neighbors, pure folly that

more than six in ten Americans oppose

.


Trump’s assault on environmental protection

, though, is part of

a larger scheme to put profits for fossil fuel

companies and other polluters first—and put the rest of us at risk. He calls for a 16 percent cut in funding for the U.S. Department of the Interior, which is charged with overseeing our

national parks

, wilderness areas, and other public waters and lands. Those cuts would eliminate thousands of employees that implement vital programs essential to the

conservation

of lands that belong to you and me.

Trump’s budget, meanwhile, would add spending needed to expose special places to the hazards and harm of oil and gas drilling. Places like the

Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante

national monuments in Utah; the

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

in Alaska; and

Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, and Alaskan waters and parts of the Gulf of Mexico

.

While heading up a

fossil fuel

raid on public waters and lands, Trump wants to burn the technological seed corn of the

clean energy

revolution that’s remaking the global economy.

Trump calls for a 65 percent cut in the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office at the U.S. Department of Energy. This office helps us do more with less waste in our cars, workplaces and homes and helps us get more clean, homegrown American power from the

wind

and sun, which

more than seven in ten Americans favor

over coal, oil and gas.

He’s also proposed eliminating the successful Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy. Over the past decade, the program has invested between $180 million and $306 million a year in

promising new energy technologies

that can help clean up our dirty power plants, for example, provide cleaner fuels for our cars and trucks, and help make our electricity grid more efficient.

For that matter, Trump’s budget would put energy efficiency out of reach for millions of low-income Americans by eliminating the popular

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

and the Energy Department’s

Weatherization Assistance

program.

Finally, Trump wants to turn his back on the central environmental challenge of our time, eliminating $160 million in investments through the

Global Climate Change Initiative

, which enables U.S. diplomats and aid experts to help developing countries find cleaner, smarter ways to power economic growth.

Trump’s budget isn’t a road map to the future. It’s a blueprint for destruction that balloons the deficit, puts our environment and health at growing risk, and leaves our kids to pay the price.

The country deserves better than that―and so do our children.

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