US budget will cut environmental spending by $2.3 billion

President Bush has submitted a detailed proposed budget for 2002, which outlines spending cuts on environmental programmes by almost $2.3 billion.


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Bush submitted his $26.4 billion proposal for funding for federal natural resources and environment programmes to Congress on 9 April. The general gist of the proposed budget, which is a more detailed version of the one submitted on 27 February (see related story), is providing value for money, by trimming $2.3 billion from 2001’s budget.

However, the proposal, which aims to cut the budgets of both of the two departments which deal principally with the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by 6.8%, and the Department of the Interior (DOI), by 4% from 1 October, would still be almost $2 billion higher than 2000’s figure. Although the majority of initiatives were announced in February, this proposed budget contains significantly more budgetary detail.

On cleaner air standards, the EPA is to certify that in 2002 an additional 2.9 million people will be living in areas with acceptable ozone levels, according to the Clean Air Act classification, whilest toxic emissions nationwide from stationary and mobile sources combined will be reduced by five percent from 2001’s levels.

On hazardous waste, in 2002, a further 82 hazardous waste management facilities are expected to have approved controls in place in order to prevent dangerous releases to air, soil, and groundwater, reaching a total of 71% of the 2,750 facilities.

The budget proposes to increase funding for local brownfields rehabilitation to $97.7 million, an increase of $5 million from 2001’s figure, with the EPA completing 65 Superfund cleanups in 2002.

On water quality, $2.1 billion in grants to states for water infrastructure needs has been proposed, which will include 700 new projects under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and 900 new water and waste treatment projects for an additional 1.4 million rural dwellers.

Environmentalists are certain to be up in arms over proposals for state owned land, which, apart from initiating planning and studies on potential oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, announced in February, will see an increase in the leasing of oil and gas from 2,900 to 3,400 leases. However, the budget will also dedicate 50% of the cash paid by successful bidders for oil and gas leases under the controversial Arctic proposal in order to fund increased research on solar and renewable energy technology research and development.

On conservation issues, the Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service is to enhance or restore 3.4 million acres of land in 2002, and the status of 347 species listed under the Endangered Species Act to stabilise or improve in 2002. The Department of Agriculture is to control erosion, reduce nutrient runoff, improve pest management and improve habitat on 32 million acres of cropland.

This Natural Resources and Environment part of the budget does not include certain large-scale environmental programmes, such as Departments of Energy and Defense clean-ups and energy conservation measure (see next story in this section).

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