In early March, the Obama Administration proposed the Fiscal Year 2015 (FY 2015) budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The proposed budget of $7.89 billion is $309.9 million below the enacted level for the EPA in Fiscal Year 2014.
The budget cut will mainly be achieved through reductions to state clean water and drinking water revolving funds. These funds are used for water infrastructure projects and will now be $581 million less than the enacted level in FY 2014.
“This budget is key to a new era of partnerships for the U.S. environmental protection enterprise, where EPA will work hand in hand—with our sister federal agencies, states, tribes, localities, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, small businesses, industry, and other stakeholders—to improve the health of families and protect the environment, one community at a time, all across the country,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Our request focuses our resources on the things that really matter to the people of this country. We will seek to make a visible difference—whether it is protecting our precious waters and leaving our children a legacy so they can safely drink water from their small community water systems and fish and swim in their local rivers; reducing air pollution along roadways and neighborhoods; or cleaning up communities to maximize environmental and economic benefits.”
According to the EPA news release, the budget will include the following highlights:
- Making a Visible Difference in Communities Across the Country
- Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality
- Taking Action on Toxics and Chemical Safety
- Protecting the Nation’s Waters
- Promoting Sustainable Community Water Resources
- Maintaining and Strengthening EPA as a High Performing Environmental Organization
- Protecting Our Land
- Supporting State and Tribal Partners
- Continuing EPA’s Commitment to Innovative Research Solutions
- Environmental Education
- Reducing EPA’s Energy Costs
- Reducing and Eliminating Programs
In addition to the $7.89 billion, the budget includes a separate $56 billion Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative. This budget “will be split evenly between defense and non-defense funding, shows how additional discretionary investments in FY 2015 can spur economic progress, promote opportunity, and strengthen national security”. This initiative includes more than $1 billion for a Climate Resilience fund, used to “invest in research and unlock data to better understand the projected impacts of a changing climate, help communities plan and prepare for impacts, and fund breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure”. This portion of the budget has been fully paid for by spending cuts and the closure of various tax loopholes.