EPA said agency program offices have already started developing “a list of discretionary grant programs and posting it on the EPA intranet and internet to ensure widespread dissemination to EPA staff and public transparency.”
Trump administration advisers appear to be considering significant cuts to EPA regional office activities that could be described as “duplicative” of state environmental programs, according to a former agency official, who characterizes the ideas as preliminary.
A labor union that represents many EPA employees is asking Congress for a major funding and staffing boost -- 500 more employees in fiscal year 2017 alone and billions of dollars in new infrastructure spending -- even as the Trump administration has pledged to slash the agency's workforce and its budget along with the rest of the federal government.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says revisions to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) could help move EPA's chemical risk assessment program off GAO's list of programs that pose a “high risk” of fraud, waste or abuse, because the updated law will help EPA take steps to address the watchdog's long-running concerns.
The House Energy & Commerce Committee is asking four agencies including EPA and the Energy Department (DOE) to turn over any internal reports on waste or inefficiency that they have produced since 2014, which could lay the groundwork for coming legislation that is expected to seek major cuts to environmental spending.
House Republican Sam Johnson (TX) is floating legislation that would abolish all 10 EPA regional offices and terminate every agency grant program, while also prohibiting EPA from using any funds to implement a slew of greenhouse gas (GHG) programs and ending all agency environmental justice activities.
EPA is pledging to step up its procedures for tracking hiring and performance of staff who administer grant programs after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found it lacks data on those employees -- data that could become more important if conservatives succeed in shifting some agency duties to grant-funded state efforts.
Facing unified Republican control of Congress and the White House, EPA and its supporters are bracing for the threat of significant budget cuts to its programs -- beginning as soon as the looming expiration of the stop-gap measure that funds the government through the end of April -- which could set up the first of many battles over whether the agency has adequate resources to address environmental problems, several observers say.