Week Ahead: Trump’s New Budget to Add Details—But Not EPA Changes

Trump addressPresident Donald Trump fleshes out his earlier “skinny” fiscal 2018 budget on May 23—reportedly maintaining a proposed 31-percent cut for EPA—as Congress holds a slew of hearings on the budget as well as other environment and energy matters.

The full budget proposal is expected to continue the skinny budget’s call earlier this year to slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget to $5.7 billion, according to the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which on May 19 released figures it said came “directly from an administration document.”

In addition to spending for EPA and other agencies, the new budget will include projections for mandatory spending on programs such as Social Security and Medicare, along with blueprints for spending and tax revenues over the next decade. The budget also reportedly includes $200 billion in federal funds over 10 years to spur investment as part of Trump’s pledged $1 trillion effort to upgrade deteriorating roads, bridges, water systems, pipelines and other infrastructure.

Members of Congress—including some Republicans—have been critical of Trump’s called-for cuts to EPA as well as to Energy Department research and development efforts, among other programs. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney will appear before the House Budget Committee on May 24 and Senate Budget Committee on May 25 to further outline the administration’s proposals.

Also coming up the week of May 22:

Water Pollution Permits: The House is taking up a bill (H.R. 953) to nullify a court decision that says pesticide applicators must obtain water pollution permits before spraying around water bodies. Tiffany Stecker will cover the House Rules Committee hearing on the bill on May 22.

Special Election: A special election will be held May 25 for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s old House seat representing Montana. As Bloomberg BNA’s Rachel Leven has reported, the result won’t change the state of play in Washington, but offers stark options for Montanans when it comes to how they want to be represented on energy and environment policy.

FERC, DOE Nominations: The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on May 25 will consider the nominations of Rob Powelson and Neil Chatterjee to be FERC commissioners and for Dan Brouillette to be Deputy Secretary of Energy. The FERC nominations are especially significant because the commission currently doesn’t have a quorum, which leaves it unable to vote on pipeline approvals. Rebecca Kern will cover.

Ozone Standards: The Senate Environment and Public Works’ Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee on May 23 will hold a hearing on two bills affecting national ambient air quality standards for ground-level ozone. Dean Scott will report.

EPA and States: The House Science Committee’s Environment Subcommittee on May 23 will listen to states talk about an expanded role for them in EPA rulemaking. David Schultz will cover.

Pruitt Talks: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is among the invited speakers May 24 at Faegre Baker Daniels’ annual energy and environmental symposium in Washington, D.C. Brian Dabbs will report.

Bloomberg BNA energy and environment staff also will have in-depth articles on several issues, including Rebecca Kern’s scheduled interviews with those attending the Nuclear Energy Assembly, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., on May 23-24.