Check Out Trump’s Logic on His Insane Environmental Budget Cuts

“We’re not spending money on that anymore.”

Trump signs an executive order with budget director Mick Mulvaney and his cabinet attending.Michael Reynolds/CNP via ZUMA Wire


President Donald Trump’s budget fulfills his warnings on the campaign trail to eliminate most, if not all, of government funding on climate change programs. The White House budget released Thursday hacks the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, and budgets for climate change programs across the State Department, NOAA, NASA, and the Interior Department are also slashed.

“I think the president was fairly straightforward on that: We’re not spending money on that anymore,” White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said flatly during a press briefing Thursday afternoon. “We consider that to be a waste of your money.”

Among the programs facing cuts are Obama-era power plant regulations, international climate programs, scientific research, and more, which amounts to more than $100 million from the budget, according to the White House. That $100 million will help fund a $54 billion bump for the military.

Fortunately, budgetary matters are not entirely up to Trump—Congress has to pass appropriations bills. While many in the Republican Congress will approve of such radical cuts, there are still enough Democrats in the Senate, and even some Republicans, who disagree with Trump and whose votes are necessary for the 60 required to approve the budget.

There’s another complication: Thanks to the landmark 2007 Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts vs. EPA, the EPA is obligated by law to come up with a way to regulate greenhouse gasses from vehicles, power plants, and other sources. The decision stated: “Under the Act’s clear terms, EPA can avoid promulgating regulations only if it determines that greenhouse gases do not contribute to climate change or if it provides some reasonable explanation as to why it cannot or will not exercise its discretion to determine whether they do.”

The White House’s argument that it’s “a waste of your money” might not rise to the level of a “reasonable explanation.” Trump’s Secretary of Defense James Mattis, however, does think climate change warrants concern.

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate