Congress decreased EPA funding
During the 2011 budget debates, FCNL has been greatly concerned about cuts to funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Originally proposed to be cut by 39%, the EPA’s 2011 budget has been cut by 16% from the 2010 levels. Most of the anti-EPA policy amendments on the budget bills were dropped; thank you for your letters, phone calls, and lobbying! With the help of many people around the country, FCNL, through lobby visits, letter writing, and phone calls was able to help protect the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
The 16% cuts to the EPA’s budget is a step backwards, but they are not as bad as they sound. Funding for waste water and drinking water treatment plants increased dramatically in 2009 and 2010 as part of the Obama Administrations effort to stimulate the economy, so the 2011 cuts do not do lethal damage to these important programs. The final 2011 budget for the EPA still represents an increase from 2009 and prior levels, so much worse damage could have been done in these rounds of budget cuts.
The majority of cuts to the EPA budget will be focused on state programs and local environmental projects. Three-quarters of the cuts will come from State and Tribal Assistance Grants, which funds infrastructure upgrades and state plans to comply with new federal rules. $191 million will be cut from regional programs, such as President Obama’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. EPA’s Superfund budget will also be reduced by $23 million, which is a hazardous waste cleanup program. Joint climate change work by the EPA and Interior Department will also be reduced by $49 million, leaving them $116 million below the President’s request for fiscal 2011.
EPA Funding for the Last Five Years in Billions of Dollars
2009 with stimulus supplemental: $14.86
2011 Administration Requested Budget: $10.02
2011 HR 1: $7.25
2011 Final agreement: $8.70