“It has taken hard work and difficult choices to reach this balanced approach, and while we had to make sacrifices, we have maintained our commitment to the core priorities of this agency and ensured the protections the American people expect and deserve,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.
EPA’s budget proposal requests $36 million to support “Next Generation Compliance,” a new enforcement model designed to enhance EPA’s ability to detect violations that impact public health. The goal is to work toward improved compliance and transparency that do not rely on paper-based reporting. The three components of the approach are:
· Promoting electronic reporting by facilities
· Modifying data systems to implement electronic reporting, and
· Deploying modern monitoring technology.
The budget also proposes $1.2 billion in categorical grants for states that are on the front lines implementing environmental statutes such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The increases from FY 2012 levels include nearly $66 million for State and Tribal Air Quality Management grants, nearly $27 million for pollution control (Clean Water Act Section 106) grants, and about $29 million for the Tribal General Assistance Program.
The proposal provides $2 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water state revolving funds (SRFs). This will allow the SRFs to finance over $6 billion in wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects annually. EPA will work to target assistance to small and underserved communities with limited ability to repay loans, while maintaining state program integrity.
The proposal includes $755 million in funding for the Superfund cleanup program which maintains funding to support cleanup at hazardous waste sites that address emergencies (Superfund Emergency Response and Removal) at the nation’s highest priority sites (Superfund Remedial).
EPA’s proposed budget provides $576 million to support research and innovation. Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grants are funded at $81 million to conduct research in key areas such as hydraulic fracturing, potential endocrine disruptors and green infrastructure. Building upon ongoing research and collaborating with the Department of Energy and the U.S. Geological Survey, a total $14 million investment will begin to assess potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on air quality, water quality, and ecosystems. EPA also will release an Interim Report on the Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources in 2012.
To ensure the progress made during the past 3 years continues, EPA is proposing $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Programs and projects will target the most significant environmental problems in the Great Lakes. About $73 million, which is a $15 million increase, will fund the Chesapeake Bay program’s continued implementation of the president’s Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration. Funding will support bay watershed states as they implement their plans to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in an unprecedented effort to restore this economically important ecosystem.
EPA is proposing $68 million, an increase of $11 million from FY 2012, to reduce chemical risks, increase the pace of chemical hazard assessments and provide the public with greater access to toxic chemical information. Funding will be used for managing the potential risks of new chemicals coming into the market and to help ensure the safety of chemicals on the market that have not been tested for adverse human health and environmental impacts.
The budget includes a $10 million increase to the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory for certification and compliance testing programs and to evaluate new biofuels technologies. The agency estimates that the national program of fuel economy and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for light-duty vehicles will save approximately 12 billion barrels of oil and prevent 6 billion metric tons of GHG emissions over the lifetime of the vehicles sold through model year 2025. These funds will improve testing methods for the agency’s renewable fuels program, and the GHG and fuel economy programs intended to reduce dependence on oil and save consumers money at the pump.
The budget includes $50 million in savings by eliminating several EPA programs that have either completed their goals or can be implemented through other federal or state efforts.