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March 07, 2014
Climate top priority in EPA budget

Within its overall fiscal year 2015 budget request of $7.890 billion – $310 million under the previous enacted level – the EPA has requested an increase of $41 million for climate change and air quality programs.

Climate change itself is described as “Objective 1” in the Agency’s Priority Goals.  Among the “core” climate-related activities listed by the Agency for 2015 are finalization of standards for CO2 emissions from existing power plants and evaluating petitions seeking the establishment of GHG emissions standards for a variety of industrial sectors and mobile source categories.

Other air quality objectives in FY 2015 include continuing reviews and revisions, as appropriate, of several National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), including NO2, SO2, and CO, in accordance with the Clean Air Act mandate to review the standards every 5 years.  In particular, the EPA says it will be working to complete the review of the lead standards by mid-2015.  The Agency will also be working on the completion of the ozone NAAQS review. 

Implementation of the PM NAAQS, including the 2012 PM NAAQS revisions, is among EPA’s highest priorities for FY 2015, states the Agency.  Action on interstate air pollution may also occur, but must await the outcome of litigation over the Agency’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) litigation.

State and Tribal aid

Other notable requests in the budget proposal include:

  • $1.775 billion—a nearly $581 million reduction from the FY 2014 enacted budget —for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds program.   As part of the Administration’s long-term strategy, the EPA is implementing a Sustainable Water Infrastructure Policy that focuses on working with states and communities to enhance technical, managerial, and financial capacity and also addresses green infrastructure options and their multiple benefits.
  • $1.130 billion for 17 categorical program grants for states, interstate organizations, nonprofit organizations, intertribal consortia, and Tribal governments.  Most environmental laws envision establishment of a decentralized nationwide structure to protect public health and the environment, and the EPA says it will continue to pursue its strategy of building and supporting state, local, and Tribal capacity to implement, operate, and enforce the nation’s environmental laws.
  • $1.1 billion to continue to apply the most effective approaches to preserve and restore land by developing and implementing prevention programs, improving response capabilities, and maximizing the effectiveness of response and cleanup actions under RCRA, Superfund, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST), and other authorities.  Under these and related programs, the EPA says that by 2015 an additional 18,970 sites will be made ready for anticipated use. 
  • $672.9 million—an increase of $42.5 million over the FY 2014 enacted operating plan—to ensure the safety of chemicals and prevent pollution.  While still seeking reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA says it intends to use all available authorities under TSCA to take immediate and lasting action to eliminate or reduce identified chemical risks and develop proven safer alternatives; use regulatory mechanisms to fill remaining gaps in critical exposure data and increase transparency and public access to information on TSCA chemicals; and use data from all available sources to conduct detailed assessments of priority chemicals to determine whether risk management action is warranted and, if so, which type of action.
  • $23 million to support activities under President Obama’s August 2013 Executive Order (EO) on Chemical Safety.  The EO seeks to expand tools, information, and materials for state emergency response commissions and local emergency planning committees.  Realigned resources will be used to fund technical support, EPA/interagency data system enhancements, and outreach in the state and local prevention and preparedness program.
  • $8.5 million for the environmental justice program to continue to facilitate integration of environmental justice considerations into planning and performance measurement processes.
  • $8 million to advance clean water, including a realignment of $1 million to support states and tribes in making sound permitting decisions and providing oversight related to implementation of EPA’s guidance on hydraulic fracturing with diesel fuels.

President Obama’s 2015 budget and supporting information

An EPA summary of its 2015 budget

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