Trump plan would open ANWR, slash EPA, scrap revenue sharing

Source: George Cahlink, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

President Trump is making good on proposals to gut energy and environmental programs in an expanded budget request due out tomorrow, according to documents the White House released today.

The proposal calls for an unprecedented 31 percent cut for U.S. EPA, an 11 percent cut for the Interior Department and an almost 6 percent cut for the Energy Department.

All told, the spending blueprint, which follows a “skinny budget” earlier this year, comes in at just over $4.1 trillion, an increase of less than $100 billion over current spending.

The plan would cut domestic programs by $54 billion while boosting the Defense Department by the same amount. Congress will begin hearings on it this week.

The Trump administration is proposing to cut the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in half, which budget documents assume will reduce the federal deficit by $16.5 billion over 10 years.

The president wants to resume collecting nuclear waste fees that were supposed to fund the permanent repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev., but were suspended in 2014 by the Obama administration in order to comply with a federal appeals court ruling. The White House sees those fees raising about $3 billion over 10 years.

The budget documents envision big changes for the Western Area Power Administration, the Bonneville Power Administration and the Southwest Power Administration, all of which would see their transmission assets “divested” for deficit savings of roughly $5.5 billion. BPA would further see its borrowing authority repealed for $4.4 billion in savings over 10 years.

The budget also anticipates oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge starting in 2022, raising $1.8 billion by 2027. It also calls for repealing state payments authorized under the 2006 Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which allows states a share of drilling royalties generated in federal waters off their coasts. That would lower the deficit by $3.5 billion by 2027, according to budget documents.

The White House is proposing to slash the Transportation Department’s budget by 12.7 percent, eliminating the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, created by the previous administration.

The proposed $11.7 billion for Interior is slightly more than the $11.6 billion fiscal 2018 request from the skinny budget. Instead of a 12 percent cut, Interior is looking at an 11 percent decrease.

The budget would slash $230 million from a program that allows the department to sell public land within a specific area around Las Vegas and invest that money in public works and conservation projects.

It would also repeal payments to counties that produce geothermal energy as an alternative heat and power source and would reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, which expired in 2011.

The budget aligns with the Trump administration’s “hard power” approach of increasing defense spending while slashing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s budget by more than $11.5 billion, or 29 percent. The office in charge of international climate change efforts is likely to be especially hard hit, according to an earlier leaked memo (Greenwire, April 25).

Click here for a summary of the budget plan.

Click here for budget tables.

Reporters Geof Koss, Hannah Hess, Kellie Lunney and Camille von Kaenel contributed.