The Obama Administration proposed a budget of $10,000,000,000 for U.S. EPA. This whopping $10,000,000,000 budget is supposed to support seven priority target areas. The Budget Highlights are:
1. Cleaning up contaminated communities: This budget includes $1.3 billion to address Superfund sites that may be releasing harmful or toxic substances into the surrounding residential community. According to EPA, cleaning up these sites improves communities’ health and allows for these properties to be used for economic development.
In addition, $215,000,000 is provided to clean up abandoned or underused industrial and commercial sites that are available for alternative uses but where redevelopment may be complicated by the presence of environmental contaminants. EPA will focus its efforts on area-wide planning and cleanups, especially in under-served and economically disadvantaged communities.
This budget also offers $27,000,000 for EPA’s new Healthy Communities Initiative. This initiative will address community water priorities; promote clean, green, and healthy schools; improve air toxics monitoring in at-risk communities; and encourage sustainability by helping to ensure that policies and spending at the national level do not adversely affect the environment and public health or disproportionally harm disadvantaged communities.
2. Improving Air Quality: In addition to the funding provided through the Healthy Communities Initiative, this budget includes $60,000,000 to support state efforts to implement updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). EPA proposed stricter air quality standards for smog and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and will work with states to help them meet those standards in the years ahead.
3. Building Strong State and Tribal Partnerships: This budget includes $1.3 billion for state and tribal grants. State and local governments are working diligently to implement new and expanded requirements under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. New and expanded requirements include implementation of updated NAAQS and addressing emerging water quality issues such as nutrient pollution.
In addition to the $25,000,000 for greenhouse gas permitting and $60,000,000 to support state efforts to implement updated NAAQS, the $1,300,000,000 for state and tribal grants includes $45,000,000 for states to enhance their water enforcement and permitting programs.
4. Taking Action on Climate Change: This budget contains more than $43,000,000 for additional efforts to address climate change and work toward a clean energy future. EPA will implement the greenhouse gas reporting rule; provide technical assistance to ensure that any permitting under the Clean Air Act will be manageable; perform regulatory work for the largest stationary sources of greenhouse gas emissions; develop standards for mobile sources such as cars and trucks; and continue research of carbon capture and sequestration technologies.
5. Protecting America’s Waters: This budget broadens efforts to clean up America’s great waterbodies. It provides $63,000,000 for efforts to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and $17,000,000 for the Mississippi River Basin to respond to non-point source control recommendations of the Nutrients Innovation Task Group and implement recommendations outlined in the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Action Plan.
This budget also invests $3,300,000,000 to maintain and improve outdated water infrastructure and keep our wastewater and drinking water clean and safe. This is in addition to $6,000,000,000 in funding provided to states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In total, an astronomical $9,300,000,000 is targeted for building and maintaining drinking water and wastewater treatment plants.
6. Assuring the Safety of Chemicals: This budget calls for $56,000,000 for chemical assessment and risk review to ensure that no unreasonable risks are posed by new or existing chemicals. This budget also invests $29 million (including $15 million in grants funding) in the continuing effort to eliminate childhood lead poisoning, and $6 million to support national efforts to mitigate exposure to high-risk legacy chemicals, such as mercury and asbestos.
7. Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice: This budget contains a paltry $8,000,000 for environmental justice programs. It targets increased brownfields investments to under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and proposes just $9,000,000 for community water priorities in the Healthy Communities Initiative, funds that will help under-served communities restore urban waterways and address water quality challenges.
More information: http://www.epa.gov/budget.