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2017-05-12 / Energy Updates

Climate, energy programs get budget reprieve

(AP) Lawmakers are set to vote this week on a bipartisan appropriations bill that would keep the government running through the remainder of 2017. The spending package fully funds the government and keeps many climate, renewable energy and environmental programs funded at close to 2016 levels.

The deal almost fully funds most agencies compared to 2016, including the Environmental Protection Agency. Climate, environment and energy programs see both budget cuts and increases. Scientists are hoping that is a sign that Congress may be unwilling to give in to President Trump’s hopes to remove these programs and research funding.

Two budget proposals are in play: The budget for the rest of 2017 and the budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins in October.

In March, Trump issued a budget blueprint for 2018 calling for a $54 billion cut to non- defense spending,including deep cuts to the EPA and many other programs. At the same time, he issued a call for an $18 billion cut for mostly non-defense spending for the remainder of 2017, but did not specify which programs should be shrunk or cut right away. Congress did not give Trump the $18 billion cut. Though the EPA overall received about a 1 percent cut, funding for the agency’s clean air and climate program remains unchanged from 2016. Trump has asked for a 31 percent cut in the EPA’s budget for 2018.

In a nod to Trump’s desire to cut climate programs and regulations, the bill also requires the White House to provide a report to Congress listing each federal climate change program, project and activity, its cost and how that money is spent. The report is due to Congress 120 days after Trump submits his official 2018 budget request.

The bill also would block any regulation requiring livestock operations — one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the country — to obtain permits for their carbon dioxide or methane emissions. Likewise, the bill prevents any federal funds from being used to report greenhouse gas emissions from any kind of livestock manure management system.

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