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EPA plans new programs, despite budget cuts

Feb. 1, 2010 - 06:00AM   |  
By TIM KAUFFMAN   |   Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency's 2011 budget would cut discretionary spending 2.9 percent from current levels, but Administrator Lisa Jackson said the budget strikes the right balance between fiscal and environmental responsibility.

"This budget cuts spending while promoting clean air, land and water, growing the green economy and strengthening enforcement," Jackson said.

Overall, EPA's discretionary budget would total $10 billion in 2011, down from $10.3 billion this year.

Among the biggest cuts:

State revolving loan funds for clean water would be cut $200 million, to $3.3 billion, following an unprecedented funding level in 2010.

The Superfund program to clean up hazardous waste sites would be cut $13 million, to $1.3 billion.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would receive $300 million in 2011, down 58 percent, but much of the $475 million provided in 2010 has yet to be spent, EPA said.

Tens of millions of additional dollars would be funneled to programs that support EPA's regulatory efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. EPA would receive $30 million in new funding to help states address greenhouse gas emissions when issuing operating permits to large emitters, and another $6 million in new funding would help EPA develop new vehicle emission standards.

The budget also proposes to nearly double funding for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a multiagency effort to help local governments integrate smart growth strategies into their development. EPA's budget for the initiative would increase to $10.9 million, up from $5.7 million this year.

EPA also proposes a new $9.5 million program called Community Water Priorities, through which EPA would issue grants to help disadvantaged communities restore urban waterways.

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