NSI News

EPA budget follows pattern

I suppose it makes sense the theme flowing through the various federal department budgets would be streamlining. With the deficit as it is, anything else would be irresponsible. But sometimes the cuts trim more than fat.

As we saw with the recent budget request for the Department of Energy, the $10 billion proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency leaves less for local governments than many would have desired. However, they might find alternative funding sources via parts of the Healthy Communities initiatives and Clean Air funds.

According to a press release, this budget offers $27 million for EPA’s new Healthy Communities Initiative to 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. As for Clean Air funds, the budget includes $60 million to support state efforts to implement updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These avenues involve more competition from bigger companies and may be more difficult to navigate. NSI has often been able to help clients succeed with these challenges.Specifically, the budget includes seven priority areas EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson outlined to guide EPA’s work.

“To meet our environmental challenges and ensure fiscal responsibility, we’re proposing targeted investments in core priorities. This budget cuts spending while promoting clean air, land and water, growing the green economy and strengthening enforcement,” Jackson stated in a press release.

Additional budget highlights include $1.3 billion to address Superfund sites that may be releasing harmful or toxic substances into the surrounding community and $215 million to clean up Brownfields. There’s also more than $43 million 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.