President Bush''s $1.96 trillion budget released yesterday provides the funds EPA needs to carry out its mission, "efficiently and effectively," according to EPA Administrator Christie Whitman.
Of that $1.96 trillion budget, EPA is slotted to get $7.3 billion for fiscal year (FY) 2002, a $56 million increase over the budget request from last year.
"It reflects this administration''s commitment to build partnerships across America to make our air cleaner, our water purer and our land better protected," Whitman said at an EPA headquarters press conference.
Trying to focus more on state partnerships and less on the Bush Administration''s recent policy-making decisions regarding the environment, Whitman stressed that, "environmental experience and expertise are being developed every day in America''s communities and the sharing of that information in partnerships will help the agency to fulfill its mission."
Whitman said that state and tribal programs are the recipients of about half of EPA''s budget.
"Our proposed budget provides almost $3.3 billion in grants for states, tribes and other EPA partners," said Whitman. "That is a half-a-billion dollars more than was requested for there grants in 2001."
Included in that figure is a new $25 million program of state grants -- money to improve and bolster enforcement efforts in the states in the way that reflects state priorities.
"In some cases, that will mean prosecution," noted Whitman. "In others, it will mean compliance assistance. But no matter which course is chosen, it will produce the best possible result in each individual situation."
A second $25 million grant program is aimed at improvements to the states environmental information systems.
"When it comes to cleaning the environment, information is power -- the power to make the right decisions to achieve the best results," said Whitman.
The budget also invests $2.1 billion in grants to states for water infrastructure needs. The grants include:
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
- Sewer Overflow Control Grants
The budget continues funding for the Energy Star program that promotes energy-efficient building design and technologies for industry and school buildings.
Finally, Bush''s budget increases resources available for local brownfields rehabilitation to $97.7 million from the $92.6 million enacted in FY 2001.
"These funds will help turn around abandoned environmental eyesores into community assets all across America," said Whitman.
"I am proud of this budget -- proud of what it promises for the future health of America''s environment," she concluded.
by Virginia Sutcliffe