WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Obama administration’s budget proposal for the Environment Protection Agency for FY 2012 would boost funding for smart growth technical assistance efforts to an all-time high of $9.9 million, an increase of more than $4 million from current enacted levels. The additional funding is intended to expand EPA’s work as a partner with HUD and DOT in the promotion of sustainable communities.
The budget proposal also continues an initiative first funded in FY2010 to provide “area wide” planning grants as part of the brownfields program. These grants support planning for the redevelopment of neighborhoods containing brownfield sites and represent an important advance in this successful program. In the first round of funding, EPA provided planning grants to 23 communities.
The EPA budget also suggests that the Obama administration remains committed to moving forward with regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) under EPA’s Clean Air Act authority. An additional $46 million for regulatory efforts to reduce GHG pollution and implement GHG reporting requirements under the Clean Air Act was requested, including funding for state GHG permitting activities. Opponents of climate change action on Capitol Hill intend to pursue legislation to prohibit EPA from regulating GHG emissions. The continuing resolution (CR) likely to pass out of the House this week would curtail funding for those activities and cut scientific research on climate change. President Obama has already promised to veto the House version of the CR.
Overall, the president’s budget reduces EPA spending by $1.3 billion, nearly 13 percent. The majority of those cuts would come from water infrastructure accounts. Nearly $1 billion ($947 million) is proposed to be cut from the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds. Other cuts include local government climate change grants, and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, much of which the agency argued was redundant spending.