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Trump Seeks 'Massive' EPA Cuts to Climate Programs to Boost Military Spending

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President Trump will substantially slash funding to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help increase military spending in his first budget plan, the New York Times and Axios reported Sunday.

Cabinet and agency officials will be asked today to prepare budget requests ahead of the administration budget's release on March 13 and sources tell Axios and the New York Times that the EPA and the State Department are particular targets for deep funding cuts meant to help fulfill Trump's campaign promise to boost defense spending. Axios sources in particular report "massive, transformational cuts" to EPA climate change programs.

"A budget is a statement of priorities, and with this proposal, Trump is telling America he doesn't care about what happens to children who are forced to drink toxic water and breath polluted air," Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said.

"Trump's budget guts the Environmental Protection Agency—the only federal agency charged with keeping our air and water clean—starves our cherished parks and threatens our wildlife. This is a budget rigged to boost the profits of corporate polluters at the expense of the health of our families."

Trump's first budget plan isn't the only news from weekend. Scott Pruitt promised to roll back Obama regulations "in an aggressive way" in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, singling out the Waters of the U.S. rule, the Clean Power Plan and regulations on methane emissions on federal lands as first in line for the chopping block.

Paraphrasing Yogi Berra, Pruitt told the appreciative crowd that "the future ain't what it used to be at EPA" as he promised structural changes at the agency and critiqued the Obama administration's focus on climate policies.

Some of Pruitt's promises could come true as early as today, as multiple reports suggest Trump will sign an order rolling back the Waters of the U.S. rule by Tuesday, with executive orders targeting the Clean Power Plan and Interior Department restrictions on coal leasing on federal lands expected to come later this week.

For a deeper dive:

EPA Funding: Axios, New York Times, Bloomberg, The Hill

Speech: Bloomberg, Newsweek, Reuters, The Guardian, The Hill

Executive Orders: WSJ, Reuters

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for daily Hot News.

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