Donald Trump’s “America first” budget cuts about one-third or 31% of the funding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) receives, even though Defense Secretary James Mattis believes climate change is a national security threat.

Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s administrator from 2013 to 2017, notes correctly that the president’s budget, and the strategy being imposed by the Scott Pruitt’s EPA, would potentially put millions of Americans at risk.

“This budget is literally and figuratively a scorched-earth budget,” McCarthy said. “It really represents an all out assault on clean air, water, and land. You just can’t put America first when you put the health of its people and its country last, and that’s what this budget really represents.”

Making matters worse, Pruitt is the midst of imposing draconian cuts to the agency’s internal machinery for independent science advice. These cuts will degrade the quality of the science being considered by the EPA when it makes regulations, and run the risk of breaking the agency’s moral and ethical compass.

Taken together, backsliding on the EPA’s budget, and on its science, will make the United States more vulnerable to near-term environmental hazards, and long-term environmental change.

None of this is normal behavior by an agency, and an administration, that espouses to “make America great again.”

The long-term health of the natural environment is vital to our national and social security, and for a prosperous and burgeoning economy.

Only a fool doesn’t recognize this.

WNYC‘s The Takeaway devoted an entire program to changes, for the worse, at the EPA. During the program, I discussed cuts at the EPA, and their implications for the environment, and for the country.

You can listen to the program here.

It’s the 31st of May, 2017. It’s not a normal day.

Follow me on Twitter at @DecisionLab.