President Opposes House’s Proposed FY 12 Budget for EPA

On July 21st, the White House issued a “Statement of Policy” on H.R. 2854, the  appropriations bill recently passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies (including U.S. EPA) for Fiscal Year 2012.  The overarching position taken in the policy statement, as well as the particular sections that apply to EPA’s budget (in our principal areas of interest), are as follows:

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2584, making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012.  The Administration is committed to ensuring the Nation lives within its means and reducing the deficit so that the Nation can compete in the global economy and win the future.  That is why the President put forth a comprehensive fiscal framework that reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, supports economic growth and long-term job creation, protects critical investments, meets the commitments made to provide dignity and security to Americans no matter their circumstances, and provides for our national security.

The Administration strongly opposes a number of provisions in this bill, including ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation.  If the President is presented with a bill that undermines ongoing conservation, public health, and environmental protection efforts through funding limits or restrictions, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.

  • EPA Operating Budget: At the funding level provided, EPA will be unable to implement its core mission of protecting human health and the environment.  Research necessary to support this mission will be curtailed, and restoration of key ecosystems such as the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay will be delayed.
  • State Revolving Funds (SRFs):  The level of funding provided in the bill would result in approximately 400 fewer wastewater and drinking water projects, and impede EPA’s ability to reach the long-term goal of providing approximately 5 percent of total water infrastructure funding annually.
  • State Categorical Grants:  The funding provided in the bill for grants to States would impede States’ ability to carry out critical public health and environmental activities such as air quality monitoring and water quality permitting.  This would greatly reduce core high-priority State environmental programs at a time of declining State budgets.
  • Clean Water Act: Section 435 of the bill would stop an important Administration effort to provide clarity around which water bodies are covered by the Clean Water Act.  The Administration’s work in this area will help to protect the public health and economic benefits provided to the American public by clean water, while also bringing greater certainty to business planning and investment and reducing an ongoing loss of wetlands and other sensitive aquatic resources.  The existing regulations were the subject of two recent Supreme Court cases, in which the Court itself indicated the need for greater regulatory clarity regarding the appropriate scope of the Clean Water Act jurisdiction. 
  • Integrated Risk Information System:  Section 444 of the bill withholds funding for EPA to take administrative action following its assessment of risk for certain chemicals.  This provision would delay scientific assessment of environmental contaminants and could delay regulatory or other Agency actions designed to protect public health.  

Please click on the following link to view the full Statement of Policy.