300 Natural Resources & Environment:Eliminate Environmental Justice Programs

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings are expressed as budget authority and were calculated using the FY 2014 enacted spending levels as found on page 193 of EPA, “Fiscal Year 2015: Justification of Appropriation Estimates for the Committee on Appropriations,” March 2014.  The FY 2014 spending level was increased at the same rate as discretionary spending for 2016–2025, according to the CBO’s most recent August 2014 baseline spending projections.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

Eliminate environmental-justice programs. This proposal saves $7 million in 2016, and $72 million over 10 years.


$18 Trillion in debt & the EPA is funding litter clean ups & composting.

The EPA’s environmental-justice programs were originally designed to protect low-income communities from environmental harm. However, the EPA now too often goes beyond this purpose. Under the premise of serving low-income communities, the EPA applies the law inconsistently to prevent businesses from developing, thus blocking the very economic opportunity that underserved and disadvantaged communities need. Further, environmental-justice programs have expanded to subsidize state and local projects that federal taxpayers should not be forced to fund. For example, the Environmental Justice Small Grants program has funded projects completely unrelated to environmental justice, such as neighborhood litter cleanups; education on urban gardening, composting, and the negative effects of urban sprawl and automobile dependence; and a pilot program to reach California’s nail salon community in order to increase “knowledge of healthy/green nail salon concepts and practices.” (( Environmental Protection Agency Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, “Environmental Justice Small Grants; FY2013 Summaries By Region,” September 11, 2013, (accessed December 11, 2014). )) Congress should eliminate these programs, which have been coopted by political agendas rather than protecting communities from truly dangerous conditions.

$18 Trillion in debt & the EPA is funding litter clean ups & composting.

Contributing Expert

Katie Tubb is a Research Associate and Coordinator in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

See publications by Katie Tubb

Katie TubbResearch Associate and Coordinator

Heritage Experts

Nicolas (Nick) Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

See publications by Nicolas Loris

Nicolas (Nick) LorisHerbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow

Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow in agricultural policy.

See publications by Daren Bakst

Daren BakstResearch Fellow in Agricultural Policy

Additional Reading