House Committee Cut Protections From EPA Budget

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a cut of\r\nnearly 10 percent to the Environmental Protection Agency's \r\nbasic programs.

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a cut of nearly 10 percent to the Environmental Protection Agency''s (EPA) basic programs.

Closely following earlier subcommittee action, the full committee approved spending cuts that will directly affect the agency''s ability to protect public health and the environment, according to EPA.

"This administration continues to build strong environmental and public health programs that are achieving real results," said EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. "If these misguided cuts are allowed to stand, EPA''s ability to do our job for the American people to enforce the environmental laws of this country will be seriously threatened."

Continuing reductions for Superfund cleanups, the committee voted to delay the cleanup of toxic waste sites and refused to endorse a number of initiatives proposed, including $50 million to clean up the Great Lakes -- the drinking water sources for 25 million Americans -- and efforts to build a strong information system between EPA and the states, said EPA.

The committee also left intact an anti-environmental rider that would prevent EPA from fulfilling its responsibility under the Clean water Act to work with the states to develop waterbody-specific pollution cleanup plans.

In addition, the committee inserted language in the bill report calling on EPA to delay a plan to reduce smog and improve air quality for more than 100 million Americans living in the eastern half of the United States, according to the agency.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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