Trump’s Budget Woefully Underfunds Critical State Environmental Agencies

Water flows through sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident outside Silverton, Colorado, on August 14, 2015.

On Thursday, the Trump administration released a proposed budget that will hamstring the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and state environmental agencies to implement and enforce environmental and public health protections. President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have promised to pass a budget that espouses values of federalism and emphasizes state governance. With less than 700 words on the EPA, the proposed budget calls for a 31 percent reduction in funding for the agency and would cut its workforce to 1980s levels. Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, said in his first address to the agency’s employees that he seeks “to ensure that we engender the trust of those at the state level.”

Trump’s budget, however, will hinder states’ abilities to address local environmental issues. This is because federal funding supports local environmental health and safety protections, from monitoring drinking water, to toxic waste cleanup, and reducing smog. The Center for American Progress analyzed state environmental agency budgets to determine how reliant these agencies are on federal funding. We found that more than half of state environmental agencies receive at least one-quarter of their funding from federal sources. If Trump and his allies in Congress succeed in slashing funding for the EPA, they will deal a blow to states’ abilities to maintain clean air and water for their residents.

EPA grants to states, tribes, and territories

In fiscal year 2016, the EPA issued $21 million multipurpose grants for states, tribes, and territories to support a range of environmental programs, including regulating air pollutants and addressing climate change impacts in the state. The grant recipients also had flexibility to apply the funding toward “high priority activities,” such as programs to address water pollution and hazardous waste management.

The EPA also provides funding for specific environmental projects. These include the brownfields grant program, which funds the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of polluted industrial sites brownfields—an initiative that has received bipartisan support. States may also apply for environmental justice grant funding to support community efforts to address environmental threats in underserved communities. The EPA grant programs allow states the flexibility to decide the best ways to address environmental issues and employ workers in their state, all without placing further strain on cash-strapped state budgets.

EPA funding is on the chopping block

Unfortunately, Trump, Pruitt, and Republicans in Congress have long had the EPA and its mission in the crosshairs. The Trump budget proposes a 31 percent overall cut to the agency. Entire programs within the agency, such as Energy Star, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, and the Chesapeake Bay Program Office would be eliminated. Although Administrator Pruitt has mentioned salvaging some funding for state grant programs, Trump’s proposed budget “eliminates or substantially reduces Federal investment in State environmental activities that go beyond EPA’s statutory requirements.”

Findings

As presented in the table below, more than half of state environmental agencies rely on the federal government for at least a quarter of their budget. See the Methodology section below for more information on this analysis.

Methodology

For this analysis, the Center for American Progress examined the most recent budgets of environmental agencies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We sought to determine the percentage of federal funding that contributed to the overall budget of the state environmental agency. For most states, this calculation was relatively straightforward and readily available in the state’s or the agency’s budget report. There was some variation in funding year for available budgets; when possible, however, we referred to the FY 2016 finalized budget. Additional information each state’s budget, including the precise name of the environmental agency and the funding year, can be found in the source notes for the table.

Conclusion

State environmental agencies are where the rubber hits the road for pollution cleanup, drinking water management, and preservation of fragile ecosystems. Funding from the EPA allows states to make decisions on how best to protect the health and safety of their residents. Trump’s budget slashes these vital programs and weakens states’ authority to lead on environmental protection.

Erin Auel is a research associate with the Energy and Environment team at the Center. Myriam Alexander-Kearns is a policy analyst with the Energy and Environment team. The authors thank Ra’iatea Lohe, an intern with the team, for her contributions to this column.

Appendix

Alabama

Fiscal year 2016 funding information for the Alabama Department of Environmental Management categorizes federal and local funding together. See Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office, “Budget Fact Book: FY 2016” (2016), p. 43, available at http://www.lfo.state.al.us/PDFs/BudgetFactBook/2016_Budget_Fact_Book.pdf.

Alaska

Funding information for Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation from the governor’s amended 2018 budget. See State of Alaska Office of Management and Budget, “UGF/DGF/Other/Fed Summary by Component (3 Scenario) (1081): Environ Conservation” (2017), available at https://www.omb.alaska.gov/ombfiles/18_budget/DEC/Amend/18compsummary3scen_dec.pdf.

Arizona

FY 2016 actual funding to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. See State of Arizona, “State Agency Budgets: Fiscal Year 2018” (2017), p. 145, available at http://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/governor/documents/executivebudget-stateagencybudgets.pdf.

Arkansas

FY 2017 funding to the Arkansas Environmental Quality Department. See State of Arkansas, “Funded Budget: Fiscal Year 2017,” p. 3, available at http://www.dfa.arkansas.gov/offices/budget/Documents/fy2017_funded_budget_schedule.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

California

2016-2017 estimated funding to the California Environmental Protection Agency. See Legislative Analyst’s Office, “Budgets and Spending,” available at http://www.lao.ca.gov/Resources/Budget (last accessed March 2017).

Colorado

Percentage calculated by determining federal funding to environment category as share of total Department of Public Health and Environment budget. Budget numbers refer to fiscal years 2015-2016 original appropriation. See Letter from Henry Sobanet to Rep. Millie Hammer, January 4, 2016, available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0TNL0CtD9wXS2ZoU1B6cnlUbVk/view.

Connecticut

FY 2016 budget request for the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. See Office of Policy and Management, “2016-2017 Biennial Budget: Conservation and Development,” p. 202, available at http://www.ct.gov/opm/lib/opm/budget/2016_2017_biennial_budget/budget/conservationanddevelopment.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Delaware

FY 2013 budget breakdown for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. See the Environmental Council of the States, “Status of State Environmental Agency Budgets, 2012-2013” (2012), p. 8, available at http://www.ecos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/September-2012-Green-Report.pdf.

District of Columbia

FY 2016 budget for Department of Energy and Environment. See Government of the District of Columbia, “FY 2017 Proposed Budget and Financial Plan” (2016), pp. F-44, F-50, available at http://cfo.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ocfo/publication/attachments/DCOCFO_FY17_Budget_vol_4.pdf.

Florida

FY 2017-2018 governor’s recommended funding for natural resources, environment, growth management, and transportation. See Florida Fiscal Portal, “Fiscal Year 2017-18 Governor’s Recommended General Appropriations Act,” p. 354, available at http://floridafiscalportal.state.fl.us/Document.aspx?ID=15320&DocType=PDF (last accessed March 2017).

Georgia

FY 2017 funding for the Department of Natural Resources. See State of Georgia H.B. 751 FY 2017 Appropriations Bill (March 29, 2016), p. 85, available at https://opb.georgia.gov/sites/opb.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/FY_2017_Final%20Bill_Governor%20Signed.pdf.

Hawaii

FY 2017 budget for Department of Land and Natural Resources. See State of Hawaii, “The FY 2017 Executive Supplemental Budget” (2015), p. 100, available at https://budget.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Budget-in-Brief-FY-17-BIB.pdf.

Idaho

FY 2015 budget for the Department of Environmental Quality. Federal funding percentage is an estimate. See Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, “A Report to Our Citizens, Fiscal Year 2015,” p. 3, available at https://www.deq.idaho.gov/media/60177914/report-to-citizens-fy15.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Illinois

FY 2016 funding for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. See State of Illinois, “State Budget, Fiscal Year 2017” (2016), p. 398, available at https://www.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Documents/Budget%20Book/FY%202017%20Budget%20Book/FY2017OperatingBudgetBook.pdf.

Indiana

2016-2017 funding for the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Environmental Management. See Indiana State Budget Agency, “Conservation and Environment,” p. 12, available at http://www.in.gov/sba/files/AP_2015_C_3_2_Con_Env_Details.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Iowa

FY 2017 total budget for Department of Natural Resources from Office of Gov. Terry E. Branstad, “Building a Better Future…Together, We Can: Iowa Budget Report 2016-2017,” p. 594, available at https://dom.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2015/08/fy2016-17_budgetbook.pdf. Percentage from federal funding from Environmental Council of the States, “Status of State Environmental Agency Budgets, 2012-2013” (2012), p. 8, available at http://www.ecos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/September-2012-Green-Report.pdf.

Kansas

FY 2017 funding for the Department of Health and Environment. See State of Kansas, “Comparison Report: The FY 2016 Governor’s Budget Report with Legislative Authorizations,” p. 150, available at http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2016/FY_2016_Comparison_Report–Updated_9-17-2015.pdf (last accessed March 2017); Office of Gov. Sam Brownback, “The Governor’s Budget Report” (2016), p. 263, available at http://budget.ks.gov/publications/FY2017/FY2017_GBR_Vol1–UPDATED–04-12-2016.pdf.

Kentucky

FY 2016 revised budget for the Energy and Environment Cabinet. See Office of State Budget Director, “2016-2018 Budget of the Commonwealth: Energy and Environment,” p. 108, available at http://osbd.ky.gov/Publications/Documents/Budget%20Documents/2016-2018%20Budget%20of%20the%20Commonwealth/1618BOCVolumeI%20(Part%20B)%20-%206-8-16.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Louisiana

2015 operating budget for the Department of Environmental Quality. See Office of John Bel Edwards, “Governor’s Executive Budget, Fiscal Year 2016-2017,” p. 119, available at http://www.doa.la.gov/opb/pub/FY17/FY17_Executive_Budget.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Maine

2016-2017 budget for the Department of Environmental Protection. See Maine Bureau of the Budget, “General Fund Proposed Biennial Budget 2018-2019, Part A,” p. A-216, available at http://maine.gov/budget/documents/2018-2019GFPartA.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Maryland

FY 2016 budget for Department of the Environment. See Department of Budget and Management, “Exhibit C: Summary of Operating Budget Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2016,” p. C. 18, available at http://www.dbm.maryland.gov/budget/FY2016FiscalDigest/ExhibitC.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Massachusetts

FY 2016 budget for Department of Environmental Protection. See FY2016 Budget Summary, “Department of Environmental Protection” (2016), available at http://www.mass.gov/bb/gaa/fy2016/app_16/dpt_16/haeqe.htm (last accessed March 2017).

Michigan

FY 2013 budget for Department of Environmental Quality. See the Environmental Council of the States, “Status of State Environmental Agency Budgets, 2012-2013” (2012), p. 10, available at http://www.ecos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/September-2012-Green-Report.pdf.

Minnesota

FY 2016 actual budget for Pollution Control Agency. See State of Minnesota, “Minnesota Pollution Control Agency” in 2018-19 Biennial Budget (2016), p. 3, available at https://mn.gov/mmb-stat/documents/budget/2018-19-biennial-budget-books/base-budget-november-2016/pollution-control-agency.pdf.

Mississippi

FY 2016 estimated expenses and funding for Department of Environmental Quality. See Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, “Budget Request: FY 2017,” p. 1, available at https://www.deq.state.ms.us/MDEQ.nsf/pdf/About_MDEQBudgetRequest2017/$File/Budget20150826110917.pdf?OpenElement (last accessed March 2017).

Missouri

FY 2016 budget request for Department of Natural Resources. See Department of Natural Resources, “Financial Summary,” p. 1, available at https://oa.mo.gov/sites/default/files/FY_2016_Natural_Resouces_EB.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Montana

2017 biennium budget for Department of Environmental Quality. See Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning, “Section C: Natural Resources & Transportation,” p. 25, available at https://budget.mt.gov/Portals/29/execbudgets/2017_Budget/Volume_1_Section_C.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Nebraska

FY 2016 actual expenditures and funding for Department of Environmental Quality. See State of Nebraska, “Agency: 084 – Dept of Environmental Quality, 2017-2019 Biennial Budget Request” (2016), p. 15, available at https://das-nebs.ne.gov/public/faces/brdIndex.jsp;jsessionid=07E5BFCDDEC444F559D8F37716D9BE59.

Nevada

2016-2017 budget for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Environmental Protection program. See Office of the Governor, “2015-2017 Executive Budget for the State of Nevada” (2015), DCNR – 146, available at http://budget.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/budgetnvgov/content/StateBudget/2016-2017/Nevada_Executive_Budget_2015-2017.pdf.

New Hampshire

Governor’s recommended funding levels for Fiscal Year 2016. See State of New Hampshire, “Governor’s Operating Budget Fiscal Years 2016-2017” (2015), p. 776, available at https://das.nh.gov/budget/Budget2016-2017/GovernorsBudgetBill.pdf.

New Jersey

FY 2017 budget for the Department of Environmental Protection. See Office of Management and Budget, “State of New Jersey – The Governor’s FY 2017 Budget Summary” (2016), 43, available at http://www.nj.gov/treasury/omb/publications/17bib/BIB.pdf.

New Mexico

FY 2014 operating budget for the Environment Department. See New Mexico Environment Department, “About NMED,” available at https://www.env.nm.gov/about-us/ (Last accessed March 2017).

New York

FY 2012-2013 budget for the Department of Environmental Conservation. See Environmental Council of the States, “Status of State Environmental Agency Budgets, 2011-2013” (2012), p. 12, available at http://www.ecos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/September-2012-Green-Report.pdf.

North Carolina

FY 2013 budget for the Department of Environmental Quality. See Environmental Council of the States, “Status of State Environmental Agency Budgets, 2011-2013” (2012), p. 13, available at http://www.ecos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/September-2012-Green-Report.pdf.

North Dakota

Environmental protection programs are housed under North Dakota Department of Health. Federal funding share for is reflective of entire department. See State of North Dakota, “Executive Budget 2015-2017 Biennium” (2014), p. 301, available at https://www.nd.gov/omb/sites/omb/files/documents/agency/financial/state-budgets/docs/budget/executivebudgetsummary2015-17.pdf.

Ohio

FY 2016 appropriations for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. See Legislative Service Commission, “Main Operating Budget Bill (FY 2016-FY 2017)” (2015), p. 35, available at http://obm.ohio.gov/Budget/operating/doc/fy-16-17/enacted/budgetindetail-hb64-en.pdf.

Oklahoma

FY 2015 budget for Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. See Office of the Governor, “State of Oklahoma Fiscal Year 2016 Executive Budget” (2015), p. 66, available at https://www.ok.gov/OSF/documents/bud16.pdf.

Oregon

2015-2017 budget for Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. See State of Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office, “2015-17 Budget Highlights Update” (2016), p. 87, available at https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/lfo/Documents/2015-17%20Budget%20Highlights%20Update.pdf.

Pennsylvania

2015-2015 actual funding for Department of Environmental Protection. See Office of the Governor, “2017-2018 Governor’s Executive Budget” (2017), p. E17-6, available at http://www.budget.pa.gov/PublicationsAndReports/CommonwealthBudget/Documents/2017-18%20Proposed%20Budget/2017-18%20Budget%20Document%20-%20Web.pdf.

Rhode Island

FY 2016 revised budget for Department of Environmental Management. See State of Rhode Island, “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Budget Fiscal Year 2017 Volume IV – Public Safety, Natural Resources and Transportation,” p.153, available at http://www.omb.ri.gov/documents/Prior%20Year%20Budgets/Operating%20Budget%202017/BudgetVolumeIV/40_Department%20of%20Environmental%20Management.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

South Carolina

FY 2013 budget for the Department of Natural Resources. See Environmental Council of the States, “Status of State Environmental Agency Budgets, 2011-2013” (2012), p. 14, available at http://www.ecos.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/September-2012-Green-Report.pdf.

South Dakota

FY 2016 appropriated budget for Department of Environment and Natural Resources. See South Dakota Bureau of Finance and Management, “State of South Dakota Budget in Brief Fiscal Year 2016,” p. 44, available at https://bfm.sd.gov/budget/BiB/SD_BIB_FY2016.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Tennessee

FY 2016-2017 estimated budget for Department of Environment and Conservation. See State of Tennessee, “The Budget – Fiscal Year 2016-2017,” p. B-274, available at http://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/finance/budget/attachments/2017BudgetDocumentVol1.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Texas

FY 2017 operating budget for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. See Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, “About the TECQ,” available at https://www.tceq.texas.gov/about (last accessed March 2017).

Utah

2016 revised budget for Environmental Quality. See Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, “Budget of the State of Utah and Related Appropriations 2016-2017” (2016), p. 228, available at https://le.utah.gov/interim/2016/pdf/00002225.pdf.

Vermont

Fiscal Year 2016 total adjusted budget for Department of Environmental Conservation. See Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, “Environmental Conservation FY2017 Budget Documents,” p. 12, available at http://anr.vermont.gov/sites/anr/files/co/ms/documents/budget/fy17-environmental-conservation-budget.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Virginia

Fiscal year 2017 budget for Office of Natural Resources. See Office of Natural Resources, “Part B: Executive Biennial Budget ‐ 2016-2018 Biennium,” p. B-203, available at http://dpb.virginia.gov/budget/buddoc16/pdf/partb/Office%20of%20Natural%20Resources.pdf (last accessed March 2017).

Washington

2015-2017 biennium operating budget for Department of Ecology. See Washington Department of Ecology, “Budget & Program Overview 2015-2017” (2015), p. 9, available at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/documents/1501007.pdf.

West Virginia

FY 2017 budget for Department of Environmental Protection. See West Virginia State Auditor’s Office, “Budget by Agency FY 2017,” available at http://www.transparencywv.org/Budget/BudgetByAgency (;ast accessed March 2017).

Wisconsin

2017-2019 biennial budget proposal for Department of Natural Resources. See State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, “2017-2019 Biennial Budget Proposal” (2016), p. ii, available at http://dnr.wi.gov/About/NRB/2016/Sep/2D1%20attachment%202017-19%20Biennial%20Budget-Board%20Version.pdf.

Wyoming

2017-2018 standard budget request for Department of Environmental Quality. See Budget Division, Department of Administration & Information, “State of Wyoming 2017-2018 Biennium Budget Request” (2016), p. 4, available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9L2AFFD9o_LRGdSdXNLYXhEZDQ/view.