House Passed Budget Resolution Would Mean Draconian Cuts for EPA

The just passed House Budget Resolution for FY 2013, if it prevails, would generally reduce discretionary spending (non-defense and non-entitlement programs) to 2008 levels. Using broad categories, the proposed plan would chop $4.1 billion from “environmental” spending programs like EPA and NOAA (using FY 12 enacted levels as the base). This is about twice the cut proposed in the Administration’s FY 13 budget request. As a practical matter, however, the proposed cuts in the Budget Resolution mean that EPA would likely see funds decline to FY 2001 levels.

What would that look like? If we returned to FY 2001, EPA’s overall budget would be $7.8 billion. The Science & Technology Account would receive $696 million (but the two Research Foundations would receive $4 million each for the year). Environmental Programs & Management would be funded at about $2.9 billion. The STAG account would be funded at a total of $3.8 billion of which the DWSRF would receive $825 million, PWSS grants would be funded at $93.3 million, and 237 water and wastewater projects would share $335.7 million in funding. State wastewater programs would receive $172.2 million for Section 106 grants and $238 million for Section 319 nonpoint source grants. The CWSRF would be funded at $1.35 billion. These are the actual appropriated funding levels for FY 2001. There’s no guarantee that the distribution under the FY 2013 Budget Resolution would show these same levels, but it’s interesting (and a little sobering) to look back to see where we were.

In any event, it’s too soon to make any decisions. For one thing, the Budget Resolutions are not binding. They only serve as guides for appropriators to follow. As well, the dollar amounts in the House Budget Resolution are likely to face clear opposition in the Senate. Less certain is whether the Senate will manage to continue to support the August 2011 budget agreement or strike out in new directions. ASDWA will continue to follow these funding issues and keep state drinking water programs apprised of any changes or new developments.