By H. Sterling Burnett
In a campaign-stop interview, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reiterated statements he first made in early October about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) being a prime target for budget cuts if he is elected president.
The January 11 interview, which was conducted by The Wall Street Journal and New Hampshire television station WMUR, took place at a diner in Manchester, New Hampshire shortly after a large town hall meeting.
Trump said he would do “tremendous cutting” of the federal government. In particular, Trump pledged to cut the budget of EPA, which he called “the laughingstock of the world.”
Trump’s remarks were similar to statements he made on Fox News Sunday on October 18, 2015. In that interview, Trump singled out EPA as an agency that will face particularly steep cuts if he becomes president.
“[EPA], what they do is a disgrace,” said Trump. “Every week they come out with new regulations.”
Christopher Horner, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says he agrees with Trump about the need to cut back EPA’s powers.
“It is difficult to think of a better candidate for drastic downsizing cuts than this agency … one that alternately takes credit for having cleaned up our world only to foster alarmism about a tsunami of grave new threats that will overwhelm us unless it is further empowered and enriched,” said Horner.
EPA’s ‘Existence Threatened’
Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), another Republican presidential candidate, has also said he would cut EPA’s powers if elected president. As chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, Cruz held hearings in December to present the views of climate scientists whose research has led them to be skeptical of the claim humans are causing catastrophic climate change. The day after the hearing, Cruz called climate change the “perfect pseudoscientific theory for a big government politician who wants more power” in an interview with NPR.
“The EPA faces two challenges: maintaining its funding and its narrative the country—and even the world—is threatened by climate change,” said Merrill Matthews, a resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation. “Donald Trump’s assertion that as president he would slash EPA funding is driving the first challenge, and Sen. Ted Cruz’ recent hearing on climate change data is helping drive the second.
“Ironically, if either [Trump or Cruz] wins the White House, it’s the EPA’s, not the human race’s, existence that will be threatened,” Matthews said.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.