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Pruitt Defends EPA Budget Cuts….Vows No Regional Offices Will be Closed

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt defends his agency’s proposed budget cuts saying they still supports the agency’s highest priorities with federal funding for core work in air and water quality, contaminated land clean-ups and enforcement.

In prepared remarks Tuesday during a U.S. Senate subcommittee appropriations hearing, the former Oklahoma Attorney General made it clear his agency intends to work more closely ‘with’ states rather than telling them what to do.

“EPA can accomplish a lot when the Agency focuses on working cooperatively with the states and tribes to improve health and the environment,” said Pruitt in the remarks. “It is essential for the federal government, state governments, and tribal governments to work together to provide the environmental protection that our laws demand and that the American people deserve.”

He also denied his budget plan includes any effort to close regional EPA offices, “but we will continue to prioritize efforts that save taxpayers dollars through space consolidation and essential renovations to reduce and optimize our physical footprint.”

But Pruitt admitted his budget request “significantly reduces or eliminates funding for mature programs that no longer need a federal present or can be implemented by others.”

He noted the FY 2018 President’s Budget identifies and eliminates programs to save taxpayers $1.03 billion compared to the FY 2017 Enacted Budget.