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House Appropriations Sends U.S. EPA Budget to Floor

The following article is reprinted with the permission of ECOS:

The full House Appropriations Committee on June 28 completed its work on U.S. EPA’s 2013 budget, sustaining the relevant subcommittee’s earlier cuts. The bill continues to include $7.055 billion for the agency, which is approximately $1.289 billion less than the FY 2013 President’s budget request and $1.394 billion less than the FY 2012 enacted budget.

Unfortunately, these “cuts to EPA” are again in reality “cuts to states and locals,” as 78% of the reductions are to the State and Tribal Assistance Grants, primarily to the drinking water state revolving loan fund (SRF) and clean water SRF.

The bill now moves to the floor and then the Senate. However, all appropriations bills are dependent on action taken to resolve the requirements of the Budget Control Act’s sequestration provisions, which is not expected to occur until after the election.

ASDWA Addendum – We understand that bill included the following funding levels for programs of particular interest to state drinking water programs:

  • PWSS = $105,320,000
  • DWSRF = $829,000,000
  • CWSRF = $689,000,000
  • Language included that states shall reserve at least 20 but not more than 30% of the DWSRF for disadvantaged.  Green infrastructure requirements no longer apply; and the Smart Growth program is not funded at all.
  • Report language says that since EPA has $2.4 billion in unobligated SRF (both) balances and states have “yet to spend” nearly $5 billion already allocated for drinking water and wastewater projects, that the SRFs are reduced accordingly to FY 2008 enacted levels.  Further, language is included to rescind $130 million from the STAG ($100M) and Superfund ($30M) program accounts.

There is a $5,000,000 competitive award for nonprofit research organizations (WRF and WERF) and another $15,000,000M competitive for national priorities; of that amount $13,000,000 for water quality and safe drinking water and the other $2,000,000 is for technical assistance for private drinking water well owners.