For Now, Congress Ignores Trump’s Request for Deep Cuts in Energy and Environment Programs


President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to slash programs for the environment, climate change, and renewable energy have been rebuffed by the U.S. Congress, which has approved a temporary spending measure that barely touches the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and actually increases funding for alternative energy initiatives.

The stopgap spending bill, which will fund the federal government through September 30, makes only a 1 percent cut to the EPA’s budget and calls for no mandatory reductions in staffing. In his proposed budget for 2018, Trump had called for a 30 percent reduction in the EPA’s $8 billion budget, the elimination of numerous EPA programs, and cutting 3,200 of 15,000 jobs at the agency.

At the Department of Energy, Trump called for $2 billion in cuts, with especially steep reductions in programs for renewable energy and energy efficiency. But Congress’s temporary spending bill actually increases funding for advanced energy research and adds $42 million to the Energy Department’s Office of Science.

Trump administration officials and their allies warned, however, that the EPA and renewable energy programs will not be spared in the 2018 budget. Referring to the stopgap spending measure, a spokesman for the conservative group, Americans for Prosperity, said, “This is mostly an extension of the status quo. We look forward to 2018 to right-size the role of energy and environment in federal spending.”