PRESIDENT'S PROPOSED 2012 BUDGET TO CUT $ 1.3 BILLION FROM EPA FUNDING
February 26, 2011
President Obama's 2012 budget would cut $1.3 billion in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Faced with national fiscal shortages, the President proposes to "win the future" with constrained budget proposals and less federal spending. These federal budget cuts would be reflected in the EPA's budget by decreasing funding for the State Revolving Funds, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the clean diesel grant program, and other various savings measures. In a separate document titled "Fiscal Year 2012 Terminations, Reductions, and Savings," the President's budget contains 211 terminations, reductions and saving measures which would cut $33 billion in spending from the 2012 year. The Obama administration wants to cut $400 billion from the deficit in a 10 year period. The EPA would receive $9 billion in 2012, $1.3 billion less than fiscal year 2011.
The largest cuts to the EPA would affect the State Revolving Funds (SRFs). The Clean Water SRF's funding would decrease from $2.1 billion to $1.55 billion in 2012. The Clean Water SRF is a program which provides loans to municipalities for wastewater construction plants, nonpoint source pollution control measures, and estuary protection projects. Borrowers get lower interest rates for structures which advance clean waters, which spurs investment into clean waters. To date, $74 billion has been loaned through the Clean Water SRF. The second largest cut would come from the Drinking Water SRF. The Drinking Water SRF's funding would decrease from $1.39 billion to $990 million in 2012. Similar to the Clean Water SRF, the Drinking Water SRF makes funds available to finance infrastructure improvements to drinking water systems.
One program would be entirely eliminated from the EPA if the budget passes as it currently stands. The Clean Diesel Grant's funding, which is $80 million for 2011, would be eliminated. The Clean Diesel Grants are competitive grants for clean diesel projects, including projects such as retrofitting school buses with idle reduction technologies. Congress only authorized spending for the Clean Diesel Grants for 2007 to 2011. The President's desire to not extend funding for the grants reflects his desire to trim the budget.
The President's budget also cuts funds from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is reflected in the budget cut from the EPA's general Operating Budget. The Great Lakes Restoration, created in 2010, is an EPA-led interagency effort to deal with the most serious environmental issues in the Great Lakes. Issues like invasive species control, non-point source pollution, and contaminated sediment levels are addressed through grants provided via the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The 2012 budget cuts $125 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
On top of mandatory administrative cuts, the President's budget would also cut funding from the Brownfield Assessment and Cleanup fund by $1 million, the Targeted Water Infrastructure fund by $167 million, the Superfund fund by $71 million, and the Leaking Underground Storage Tanks fund by $1 million.
Office of Mgmt. & Budget, Exec. Office of the President, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012 (2011), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/budget.pdf.
Office of Mgmt. & Budget, Exec. Office of the President, Terminations, Reductions and Savings, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012 (2011), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/trs.pdf.
Office of Mgmt. & Budget, Exec. Office of the President, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012, Environmental Protection Agency (2011), available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/environmental.pdf.
U.S. EPA, Clean Water State Revolving Fund, http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/cwf/cwsrf_index.cfm (last visited Feb. 21, 2011).
U.S. EPA, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, http://water.epa.gov/grants_funding/dwsrf/index.cfm (last visited Feb. 21, 2011).
U.S. EPA, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/glri/ (last visited Feb. 21, 2011).
U.S. EPA, National Clean Diesel Campaign; Awarded Projects National Funding Assistance, http://epa.gov/cleandiesel/projects/proj-national.htm (last visited Feb. 21, 2011).
U.S. EPA, National Clean Diesel Campaign; Grants & Funding Overview, http://www.epa.gov/diesel/grantfund.htm (last visited Feb. 21, 2011).