Tuesday, April 12, 2011

EPA, state cleanup, climate programs take big hit in budget deal

The budget deal "savages" money to states, notes my friend, Bill Becker.

See below. Maybe some folks were popping the champagne a bit early.
Below are excerpts from two reports, first from BNA Daily Environment Report:

EPA Budget Cut by $1.6 Billion
In Spending Agreement Reached for FY 2011

The spending agreement between congressional leaders and the White House for the rest of fiscal year 2011 would reduce the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by 16 percent to $8.7 billion and the Department of Energy's energy efficiency and renewable energy program by 18 percent to $1.83 billion.

Details of the agreement on a final continuing resolution (H.R. 1473) were released April 12, and the House leadership has indicated the House will take up the measure April 14.

Overall, federal spending on discretionary programs covered by the continuing resolution would be reduced to $1.049 trillion, $37.5 billion below enacted fiscal year 2010 enacted levels under the agreement reached among the House and Senate leadership and the White House on April 8.
The $37.5 billion in federal spending cuts include the $12 billion in reductions that were approved by Congress in March in two separate short-term spending measures.

The $1.6 billion cut to EPA's spending include nearly $1 billion to its wastewater and drinking water infrastructure programs. DOE's energy efficiency and renewable energy programs would be cut by more than $400 million under H.R. 1473.

The bill cuts climate change funding across all agencies by $49 million, which House appropriators say is $13 million below the enacted levels.
The spending measure adopts at least two climate change amendments included by Republicans in H.R. 1, the House-adopted spending bill that failed in the Senate. First, it bars the White House from using funds to appoint an assistant to the president on energy and climate change, and bars the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from creating a NOAA Climate Service, which would integrate all its programs into one service.

In its fiscal 2012 budget request, NOAA called for a reorganization to bring its various climate initiatives under a single climate service.
H.R. 1473 does, however, provide $10 million to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

[and this from Greenwire:]

The spending deal brokered last week by President Obama and Congress to avert a government shutdown would balance most its $1.6 billion in cuts to U.S. EPA's budget on the backs of state regulators and local environmental projects, according to details of the bill that were released by appropriators early this morning.

Three-quarters of the cuts, totaling $1.19 billion, would come from State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG), which mainly fund water infrastructure upgrades and state plans to comply with new federal rules. That includes a $997 million cut from a pair of revolving funds that finance local drinking water projects and efforts to clean up polluted bodies of water.

With total funding of $3.77 billion, the STAG programs make up less than half of EPA's $8.7 billion budget under the pact. Though the president proposed a similar cut to the revolving funds in his fiscal 2012 budget request, his pact with Republicans would now pull funding for the water infrastructure projects a year early.

The budget deal also includes a $191 million cut to regional programs, such as Obama's own Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Those programs would now get almost exactly as much as Obama requested this year for projects in the Great Lakes, as well as the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.

Those cuts, along with a plan to rescind $140 million of unobligated grants from the STAG program, will be a blow to state agencies that are limping due to years of state budget cutbacks, said Bill Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. The spending deal also rejects the administration's request for an extra $82 million in grants to help states implement new air pollution rules from EPA, and cuts another $10 million on top of that, he said.

Becker said it's "disconcerting" that many lawmakers want to shrink the federal government, but they are doing it by taking most of the money away from state and local agencies. For example, the spending deal zeroes out a $20 million program meant to cut air pollution in smog-choked areas of Southern California.

It isn't fair that "Congress asks the states to carry out the will of these environmental statutes, and then savages the funding required to do these tasks," Becker said. "We're trying to do the job that Congress asked us to do."

While the cuts to EPA grant programs were mostly in line with the president's request for next year, the deal goes after the agency's own efforts by taking money from EPA scientists and the offices that design the agency's regulations. Scientific programs would get $815 million, down $42 million from fiscal 2010, and environmental programs would end up with $2.76 billion, down 8.8 percent from last year.

That was a key demand for Republicans such as House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers of Kentucky, who framed the spending deal today as a a way to "rein in out-of-control federal bureaucracies."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally, just the tiniest bit of sanity hits DC. In a sane wrold the EPA and Dept of Energy would have been zeroed out.