Obama pledges funding for cleanups in reduced EPA budget

The United States is planning to cut funding for its environmental watchdog while pledging to continue vast spending on contaminated land clean ups.

Budget plans, announced last night in the US by president Barack Obama, actually sees a slight cut in spending of 2.6% in 2011 over 2010 levels.

This takes the budget down to $10billion from $10.3billion in what Mr Obama says is part of a plan to 'find efficiencies in the agency's operations'.

Included in the funding is $1.3billion to aimed at superfund sites that maybe releasing harmful or toxic substances into the surrounding community.

As well as $215m provided to clean up abandoned or underused industrial and commercial sites which are available for alternative uses but where redevelopment may be complicated by the presence of environmental contaminants.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said: "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.

"The president's budget is focused on creating the conditions that help American families, communities and small businesses thrive.

"Clean air, clear water and green jobs are rebuilding the foundations for prosperity in communities across the country."

Funding of $60m for improving air quality to the updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), is also included.

While cash for fighting climate change, building stronger links with tribal groups, $63m to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay and $17mil for the Mississippi River Basin.

This budget also invests $3.3billion to maintain and improve outdated water infrastructure and keep wastewater and drinking water clean and safe.

Luke Walsh


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