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Tue May 1, 2018, 01:24 AM

Congress boosted spending on science and the environment, even as Trump administration tried to cut

Government agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the United States Geological Survey are breathing sighs of relief, as they will keep their federal funding or even see budget increases, thanks to a bipartisan federal spending measure enacted March 23.

A coalition of center-right Republicans and center-left Democrats voted to boost a cap on defense and domestic spending, making room for more funding for everything from fighter jets to renewable energy research. The vote also stripped most of the 80 anti-environmental measures known as riders.

There's a lot of good news in this budget for people concerned about science, the environment and climate change, says Marianne Lavelle, a Washington reporter for InsideClimate News.

The EPA, for example, faced a 30 percent cut under the budget proposed by the Trump administration. The agency had already lost 700 employees through buyouts, and the cuts would have cost an additional 2,000 jobs, but "Congress said no to that and kept them at their current budget,” Lavelle explains. “They have fewer employees than they did at the beginning of the Trump administration, but it could have been a lot worse.”

The Trump administration had wanted to get rid of USGS’s climate centers, but that, too, didn’t happen. The USGS has done some of the nation's most important studies on sea-level rise and its impact on the coasts, so research is crucial to many states, Lavelle says.

The Department of Energy also fared better than expected. The Office of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency faced a 70 percent cut under the Trump plan, but now it actually gets a nearly 13 percent increase.

More: https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-04-29/congress-boosted-spending-science-and-environment-even-trump-administration-tried

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