Environmental Protection

EPA Funds Reduced 16% in Budget Compromise

Lawmakers have delineated cuts in environmental and energy initiatives across the board in their latest budget proposal.

The proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ─ $1.6 billion ─ in Congress' latest budget compromise only tells half of the story of how the government's budget for the environment fared generally.

In lieu of a government shutdown, the House of Representatives introduced H.R. 1473 on Tuesday, and both chambers of Congress were expected to vote on the bill this week. The resolution would fund government business until Sept. 30.

EPA had requested about $10 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal year (FY) 2010 to support its clean air, climate change, and water initiatives and to strengthen its scientific and enforcement capabilities. This budget was the agency's highest funding level since it was created. If the bill passes, the agency would have an $8.83-billion budget for 2011, according to a news release from the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies in March, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson noted that the agency was aware of the need for fiscal tightening and requested a total budget of $8.973 billion for FY 2012.

The House Appropriations Committee provided this line by line accounting of the reductions compared to FY2010's enacted budgets:

Agriculture
Renewable energy program down $34 million
Rural water loan subsidies and grants down $40 million
Wetlands Reserve down $119 million
Conservation Stewardship down $39 million
Environmental Quality Incentives down $80 million

Science
NIST scientific and technical research and services and technology innovation program down $32 million
NSF research down $43 million

Energy and Water
Corps of Engineers investigations down $33 million
Bureau of Reclamation down $23 million
Energy efficiency and renewable energy down $438 million
Nuclear energy down $56 million
Clean coal technology down $17 million
Nondefense environmental cleanup down $20 million
Uranium enrichment decontamination fund down $75 million
Nuclear waste disposal down $101 million
Defense environmental cleanup down $638 million
Defense nuclear waste disposal down $98 million
Nuclear Regulatory Commission down $16 million

General Government
D.C. Water and Sewer Authority down $9 million

Interior Department
Fish & Wildlife Service down $141 million
U.S. Geological Survey down $26 million
Clean and drinking water state revolving funds down $997 million
Climate change programs (bill-wide) down $49 million

Labor, Health and Human Services
Green Jobs Innovation fund down $40 million

Urban Development
Brownfield redevelopment down $18 million
Energy Innovation Fund down $50 million
Lead hazard reduction down $20 million

Combined, these cuts total $3.252 billion. The budget bill cuts about $40 billion from U.S. government coffers.

 Sources: EPA, Senate and House Appropriations committees

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