CORRECTION: The House Appropriations Committee had already approved a FY 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill that funds the EPA at $7.5 million when this story was published.
- Different budgets proposed by the White House and the House Budget Committee, and a bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee all disagree on how to fund the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling into question the future of programs that affect waste and recycling programs.
- The proposed budget from the Trump administration called for deep cuts at the EPA, including slashing funds for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) programs. The House Appropriations Committee called RCRA grant funding a "key priority" in a memo and committee-approved budget giving the program $27.7 million more than the Trump budget requested. In a newly-released “blueprint,” the House Budget Committee doesn’t mention RCRA, but calls for a reduction in "the scale of the EPA’s involvement in regulatory responsibilities best done by the states."
- The Budget Committee blueprint also calls for completely cutting EPA’s Office of Regulatory Policy and Management (ORPM), which operates under the Office of Policy. The ORPM has a handful of responsibilities, providing analytical and policy support to regional offices and maintaining important websites – the laws and regulations site and the Reg DaRRT website, which publicly displays the development of EPA rulemaking.
Six months into the Trump administration, it still isn't entirely clear what policies the president and his cabinet will make or change that will affect the waste industry. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken action on Superfund sites, but has shown an unfamiliarity with waste-related issues — which is consequential, since the EPA is in charge of RCRA programs, cleaning up Superfund sites and overseeing other sensitive topics, like landfill caps.
RCRA, the 40-year-old law which has been transformed and amended since it was signed, has had monumental impacts on the industry by regulating emissions, waste handling and land restoration, among other environmental issues. Pruitt has more or less endorsed the proposed cuts that would entirely cut staff for RCRA Waste Minimization and Recycling programs. So, even though Appropriations Committee approved a budget that supports RCRA programs, it's feasible that the administrative branch could choose not to enforce or run the programs.