From the March 3 edition of CNN's The Lead with Jake Tapper:
JAKE TAPPER (HOST): President Trump said this week his first proposed budget will, quote, “make the government lean,” just as Trump the candidate pledged. So what might end up on the chopping block? Well, the Environmental Protection Agency. It could seek significant budget cuts, and that could mean layoffs and less money going to the states. Joining me now to talk about it is CNN government regulation correspondent Rene Marsh. Rene, what kinds of cuts exactly are we talking about?
RENE MARSH (CORRESPONDENT): A potential 24 percent cut to the overall budget, as many as 3,000 employees potentially laid off. The elimination of longstanding environmental protection programs and drastic reduction of others. Now, every state will be impacted in some way, but some states will be particularly hard hit.
President Trump's proposed budget could slash state grants aimed at enforcing environmental laws, as well as regional programs that address specific pollution problems -- a double whammy for some states.
Under the proposed EPA budget, some regions could get additional cuts. On the East Coast, grant money used to clean up the badly polluted Chesapeake Bay, the country's largest estuary, could be slashed 93 percent, with funding dropping from $73 million down to $5 million.
The Great Lakes region could see a 97 percent cut, from $300 million down to $10 million. The funds are used to clean up pollution sites like the St. Louis River that feeds into Lake Superior. The Great Lakes provide drinking water to people in eight states. Officials there say it could cost more to treat drinking water, and that cost would be passed on to consumers.
Washington state could see a 93 percent cut in grants used to clean up and protect the Puget Sound, from $28 million down to $2 million. It's the second largest estuary in the nation and leads the country in the production of farmed shellfish. While he did not address these specific programs, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday some other programs could be spared.
The rationale for the proposed cuts? Limiting federal spending and overreach by allowing states to enforce environmental laws.
These cuts not only have a potential impact on health, but a major impact on the states' bottom line. Whether it's the fishing industry or tourism, these waterways are a source of revenue. Several state officials I spoke to today say if the government takes away the level of funding that we're talking about here, it would be impossible for them to enforce environmental laws the way that they are doing it today. Jake, they say that the state coffers just cannot support that sort of thing, they don’t have the money to do it on their own.