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Subject: Trump declares war on the environment rss

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Professor of Pain
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I've been toying with making a post of this nature for a few days now, then Grist lays it all out for me in a pithy headline; Trump’s budget is a declaration of war on the environment

Here are 13 of the most critical proposed budget cuts:

EPA’s budget would be cut by 31 percent, from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion — its lowest level in four decades, accounting for inflation.

EPA’s staff would be cut by about 21 percent, taking the workforce from around 15,000 people down to some 11,800.

International climate change programs run by the State Department and the EPA would end, including payments the U.S. had pledged to make to United Nations climate efforts.

President Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan, designed to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, would have all of its funding zeroed out. (Trump is soon expected to issue an executive order calling for the Clean Power Plan to be rewritten.)

Restoration programs for the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay would be completely wiped out. This is vital work and funding would fall on the states.

Energy Star, a popular voluntary labeling program for efficient appliances and devices, would lose all federal funding.

The Superfund program for cleanup of contaminated sites would have its funding cut from about $1.1 billion to $762 million. (EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly pushed to maintain funding for toxic site cleanups, but lost that battle.)

There would be no more funding for long-distance Amtrak trains; federal funds would be focused on Amtrak’s regional service, like in the Northeast Corridor.

The Department of Agriculture’s water and waste disposal loan and grant program, which gives money to rural governments and tribal nations to improve drinking water systems, would end.

All funding would be eliminated for National Historic Sites, which are managed by the National Park Service.

No funds would go to the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which improves the energy efficiency of low-income families’ homes, helping them save money on utility bills and prevent carbon pollution.

The Department of Energy would lose all funding for its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which helps to get innovative energy technologies off the ground, and for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which works to develop more advanced, efficient cars.

NASA’s climate research programs would get hit hard, with several missions that study climate change getting the ax.
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Elfbane wrote:
I've been toying with making a post of this nature for a few days now, then Grist lays it all out for me in a pithy headline; Trump’s budget is a declaration of war on the environment

Here are 13 of the most critical proposed budget cuts:

EPA’s budget would be cut by 31 percent, from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion — its lowest level in four decades, accounting for inflation.

EPA’s staff would be cut by about 21 percent, taking the workforce from around 15,000 people down to some 11,800.

International climate change programs run by the State Department and the EPA would end, including payments the U.S. had pledged to make to United Nations climate efforts.

President Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan, designed to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants, would have all of its funding zeroed out. (Trump is soon expected to issue an executive order calling for the Clean Power Plan to be rewritten.)

Restoration programs for the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay would be completely wiped out. This is vital work and funding would fall on the states.

Energy Star, a popular voluntary labeling program for efficient appliances and devices, would lose all federal funding.

The Superfund program for cleanup of contaminated sites would have its funding cut from about $1.1 billion to $762 million. (EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly pushed to maintain funding for toxic site cleanups, but lost that battle.)

There would be no more funding for long-distance Amtrak trains; federal funds would be focused on Amtrak’s regional service, like in the Northeast Corridor.

The Department of Agriculture’s water and waste disposal loan and grant program, which gives money to rural governments and tribal nations to improve drinking water systems, would end.

All funding would be eliminated for National Historic Sites, which are managed by the National Park Service.

No funds would go to the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which improves the energy efficiency of low-income families’ homes, helping them save money on utility bills and prevent carbon pollution.

The Department of Energy would lose all funding for its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which helps to get innovative energy technologies off the ground, and for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, which works to develop more advanced, efficient cars.

NASA’s climate research programs would get hit hard, with several missions that study climate change getting the ax.


You missed an interesting one-Elimination of the Environmental Justice Office

Quote:
The environmental justice office is tasked with bridging the yawning disparity in pollution experienced by black, Hispanic and low-income communities and wealthier white neighborhoods. It provides grants to communities to mop up toxins and rehabilitate abandoned industrial facilities that are invariably found in poorer areas.

In the final months of Barack Obama’s administration, the EPA unveiled a new effort to tackle lead poisoning, air pollution and other problems suffered by communities of color situated next to waste treatment plants, smelters and other sources of toxins. But this plan will be cut down in its infancy should the environmental justice office be dismantled.

To cut the environmental justice program at EPA is just racist.
John Coequyt, Sierra Club “The Trump administration has decided fence-line communities across the country, whose residents already bear an outsized burden from pollution, are on their own to take on big polluters,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization.

“Most pollution-spewing operations are within eyeshot of the backyards and kitchen windows of African American and Hispanic families, as well as those of many largely white lower-income communities.

Through this decision to zero out funding for the EPA’s environmental justice programs, the president and the administrator have sent a shameful message: the health of poor Americans is less important than that of the wealthy.


https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/03/epa-envi...

The "pissing on the poor" motif is alive and well in the Trump Administration
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Professor of Pain
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Kumitedad wrote:
You missed an interesting one-Elimination of the Environmental Justice Office

I know. I teach environmental justice and this just pisses me off. It hurts too much to think about.

I'm teaching a course on Conservation and Natural Resource Policy and I've joked to my students that everything they learn this semester may be irrelevant by finals.
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What Trump and the GOP really should think about is what happens if man-caused global warming is true.

Even if there is a 10% chance it is true, that amount is a staggeringly high chance of disaster. (and I'm not even saying the chance is that low)

If we had such a high chance at almost any other catastrophe happening, we'd absolutely destroy the political careers of any politician who knew the chance was so great and did nothing (at least, once the catastrophe starts having effects).

And, the legacy of being the ones to lead the world into it, will not be a good one.

I am aware of the high cost of taking measures to minimize this risk, but when weighed against the chance of such a severe catastrophe, it does not seem bad. They are not bad measures to take anyway since most measures that would reduce risk also would reduce pollution, which very few people love living in.

If it goes so far that pollution in cities also increases, I will be even more disappointed in the GOP than when they nominated Trump to be the leader of the party of family values.
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The problem is, that even if the climate change ramifications are dire, every one (or the vast majority) of the current politicians will be dead and gone by the time by the time things really get bad. They're getting theirs now, which is all they care about.

China has now taken the lead on climate change efforts, joining most other so-called world powers. They are killing it with alternative energy (solor in particular) and cutting back on coal; I guess I didn't see that coming. Wonder why they'd bother if it's all a Chinese hoax as Trump has tweeted?

It's why I hate that term "Conservative": those called that are anything but when it comes to taking chances and taking the long view on anything.
We buy insurance not because we know an accident will happen, but because it might happen. Climate Change needs to be looked at in the light of "what if". I hope all those scientists are proven wrong, because it means my children and theirs won't be screwed. But prove them wrong first before declaring they are so.
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The thing about Amtrak is great news. Not sure why that is part of your point by point write up of how Trump is attacking the environment or why you think the government should be propping up a private business that provides little to no value and can't even remotely stay profitable by itself.

Also, interesting to note that Obama made an even larger cut in his first year according to the chart.
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ejmowrer wrote:
Also, interesting to note that Obama made an even larger cut in his first year according to the chart.


It's the previous data-point that interests me. Did Bush Jnr. really double EPA spending in his last year in office? Whoda thunkit?
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AdrianPHague wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
Also, interesting to note that Obama made an even larger cut in his first year according to the chart.


It's the previous data-point that interests me. Did Bush Jnr. really double EPA spending in his last year in office? Whoda thunkit?


And the EPA was created by Richard Nixon.

And it looks like Obama cut the EPA by more than 30% his first year.
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ejmowrer wrote:
The thing about Amtrak is great news. Not sure why that is part of your point by point write up of how Trump is attacking the environment or why you think the government should be propping up a private business that provides little to no value and can't even remotely stay profitable by itself.

Also, interesting to note that Obama made an even larger cut in his first year according to the chart.

Fair point. That's just from the article I linked. However, I think we should be investing in rail, though probably not in that manner.
 
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AdrianPHague wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
Also, interesting to note that Obama made an even larger cut in his first year according to the chart.

It's the previous data-point that interests me. Did Bush Jnr. really double EPA spending in his last year in office? Whoda thunkit?

From the NYT's Trump’s Budget Cuts Some Agencies to Their Lowest Levels in Decades
Quote:
Many of the agency budgets show a spike in 2009, reflecting economic stimulus spending. That year’s budget was originally set under George W. Bush, and further increased under Barack Obama.
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Elfbane wrote:
Kumitedad wrote:
You missed an interesting one-Elimination of the Environmental Justice Office

I know. I teach environmental justice and this just pisses me off. It hurts too much to think about.

I'm teaching a course on Conservation and Natural Resource Policy and I've joked to my students that everything they learn this semester may be irrelevant by finals.


It's because "the environment" is for poor people, and who cares about them?

RICH people can live in safely preserved biodomes, and pay to import that clean, fresh, mountain air smell for their enjoyment, as needed!

 
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ejmowrer wrote:
The thing about Amtrak is great news. Not sure why that is part of your point by point write up of how Trump is attacking the environment or why you think the government should be propping up a private business that provides little to no value and can't even remotely stay profitable by itself.


Amtrak isn't profitable because it continues to attempt to provide its original mandate of providing passenger rail service across the United States; mass transit which provides service to low-population areas in the service of service for the entire population (which is the entire point of mass transit in the first place) is never really going to be profitable. If Amtrak only provided service to the northeast corridor, it would be quite profitable.
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mightygodking wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
The thing about Amtrak is great news. Not sure why that is part of your point by point write up of how Trump is attacking the environment or why you think the government should be propping up a private business that provides little to no value and can't even remotely stay profitable by itself.


Amtrak isn't profitable because it continues to attempt to provide its original mandate of providing passenger rail service across the United States; mass transit which provides service to low-population areas in the service of service for the entire population (which is the entire point of mass transit in the first place) is never really going to be profitable. If Amtrak only provided service to the northeast corridor, it would be quite profitable.
It would also become more profitable if high speed rail could be built along the length of the I-95 and I-5 corridors. This would also ease the congestion in the air corridors in these regions. East-west lines present more of a problem due to the sheer distances involved in crossing this country and the low population density of many large western states.
 
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ejmowrer wrote:

Also, interesting to note that Obama made an even larger cut in his first year according to the chart.


President Obama has requested $10.5 billion to fund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in FY 2010, a 37 percent increase over the previous year's budget and the highest-ever funding level for the agency, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced Tuesday.

And the chart looks off

FY 2011. $8,682,117,000

FY 2010. $10,297,864,000

FY 2009. $7,643,674,000

FY 2008. $7,472,324,000
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cooler king wrote:
mightygodking wrote:
ejmowrer wrote:
The thing about Amtrak is great news. Not sure why that is part of your point by point write up of how Trump is attacking the environment or why you think the government should be propping up a private business that provides little to no value and can't even remotely stay profitable by itself.


Amtrak isn't profitable because it continues to attempt to provide its original mandate of providing passenger rail service across the United States; mass transit which provides service to low-population areas in the service of service for the entire population (which is the entire point of mass transit in the first place) is never really going to be profitable. If Amtrak only provided service to the northeast corridor, it would be quite profitable.
It would also become more profitable if high speed rail could be built along the length of the I-95 and I-5 corridors. This would also ease the congestion in the air corridors in these regions. East-west lines present more of a problem due to the sheer distances involved in crossing this country and the low population density of many large western states.


With high-speed rail you open up whole areas for efficient transit.
Chicago or Detroit should be a hub with international trains to Toronto too. With new build line could easily be designed for running speeds of 200mph, you could cover a large enough population to make it pay.

However the problem is going to be expense. Building new rail is very expensive. Buying new trains and rolling stock to take advantage of the new line is also going to be expensive.

 
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"Trump declares war on the environment inefficient bureaucracy" FTFY

This allows each of the Agencies (including the EPA) which are being cut to prioritize what they really want/need to accomplish and cut the non-effective people/programs. This is what difficult government decisions look like. I would challenge the idea that the EPA cannot move it's major initiatives forward with a $5B budget. If that is really the case, it's time to do a major house-cleaning at the EPA and get some folks who can do the job in a efficient manner....which this budget cut will likely help accomplish.

This is not a challenge to the environment, it's a challenge to bureaucrats who are happy to continue to collect paychecks and give government grants without a fear for the consequences of their inefficiency. Now they'll need to find a way to be more efficient, 31% more efficient. Which is a good thing when we are in as much debt as we are in.

See Budget and Workforce data since 1970 below:
EPA's Budget and Workforce

.............Enacted Budget Workforce
FY 2016 $8,139,887,000 15,376
FY 2015 $8,139,887,000 14,725
FY 2014 $8,200,000,000 15,408
FY 2013 $7,901,104,000 15,913
FY 2012 $8,449,385,000 17,106
FY 2011 $8,682,117,000 17,359
FY 2010 $10,297,864,000 17,278
FY 2009 $7,643,674,000 17,049
FY 2008 $7,472,324,000 16,916
FY 2007 $7,725,130,000 17,072
FY 2006 $7,617,416,000 17,355
FY 2005 $8,023,483,000 17,495
FY 2004 $8,365,420,000 17,611
FY 2003 $8,078,703,000 17,741
FY 2002 $8,078,813,000 17,590
FY 2001 $7,832,211,000 17,558
FY 2000 $7,562,811,000 17,726
FY 1999 $7,590,352,000 18,110
FY 1998 $7,363,046,000 17,739
FY 1997 $6,799,393,000 17,152
FY 1996 $6,522,953,000 17,082
FY 1995 $7,240,887,000 17,508
FY 1994 $6,658,927,000 17,106
FY 1993 $6,892,424,000 17,280
FY 1992 $6,668,853,000 17,010
FY 1991 $6,094,287,000 16,415
FY 1990 $5,461,808,000 16,318
FY 1989 $5,155,125,000 14,370
FY 1988 $5,027,442,000 14,442
FY 1987 $5,364,092,000 13,442
FY 1986 $3,663,841,000 12,892
FY 1985 $4,353,655,000 12,410
FY 1984 $4,067,000,000 11,420
FY 1983 $3,688,688,000 10,832
FY 1982 $3,676,013,000 11,402
FY 1981 $3,030,669,000 12,667
FY 1980 $4,669,415,000 13,078
FY 1979 $5,402,561,000 12,160
FY 1978 $5,498,635,000 11,986
FY 1977 $2,763,745,000 11,315
FY 1976 $771,695,000 9,481
FY 1975 $698,835,000 10,438
FY 1974 $518,348,000 9,743
FY 1973 $2,377,226,000 9,077
FY 1972 $2,447,565,000 8,358
FY 1971 $1,288,784,000 5,744
FY 1970 $1,003,984,000 4,084
 
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richcharters wrote:
"Trump declares war on the environment inefficient bureaucracy" environment FTFY

Fixed it back for you.

Quote:
This allows each of the Agencies (including the EPA) which are being cut to prioritize what they really want/need to accomplish and cut the non-effective people/programs.


No, it actually does not.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/16/politics/donald-trump-budget-c...

Quote:
Asked at the White House about the cuts to climate change-related programs, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said those programs are "a waste of your money."
"Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward. We're not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.' So that is a specific tie to his campaign," Mulvaney said.

[...]

Climate change programs were targeted, including discontinuing funding for the Clean Power Plan, President Barack Obama's signature environmental regulation intended to curb global warming. Funding would also be cut for international climate change programs and climate change research and partnership programs.

The plan aims to reduce EPA's compliance enforcement budget by $129 million, and eliminate funding for regional efforts like Great Lakes restoration, Chesapeake Bay and other geographic programs by $427 million.
Trump also proposes eliminating funding for 50 EPA programs including Energy Star ,targeted airshed grants the endocrine disruptor screening programs and infrastructure assistance to Alaska native villages and Mexico border.

The budget defunds specific programs and initiatives. The EPA does not get to "prioritize", they are simply not allowed to spend money on climate change programs anymore

Also, regarding:
Quote:
See Budget and Workforce data since 1970 below:

Not sure if those numbers are inflation adjusted, but you can still clearly see the EPA is smaller and cheaper than it has been since the mid 90's.


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I've decided to make my dog more efficient by cutting off his legs. This will reduce his weight by 31%. He is fast now but without that junk-in-the-trunk I expect him to fly! If he don't live up to expectations I'm wondering about his head? There is at least a kilo of weight up there.
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richcharters wrote:
"Trump declares war on the environment inefficient bureaucracy" FTFY

This allows each of the Agencies (including the EPA) which are being cut to prioritize what they really want/need to accomplish and cut the non-effective people/programs. This is what difficult government decisions look like. I would challenge the idea that the EPA cannot move it's major initiatives forward with a $5B budget. If that is really the case, it's time to do a major house-cleaning at the EPA and get some folks who can do the job in a efficient manner....which this budget cut will likely help accomplish.

This is not a challenge to the environment, it's a challenge to bureaucrats who are happy to continue to collect paychecks and give government grants without a fear for the consequences of their inefficiency. Now they'll need to find a way to be more efficient, 31% more efficient. Which is a good thing when we are in as much debt as we are in.

See Budget and Workforce data since 1970 below:
(snipped a bunch of numbers)


Numbers in and of themselves are utterly meaningless without context. One obvious example is these are just raw dollar figures and don't take inflation into account.

Do you have any context that would actually prove that EPA bureaucrats are inefficient and just taking paychecks? Or are you just repeating talking points that sound good to you?
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