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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Pasco Press

The Green Column: FY 2014 budget plan reduces eco-friendly funding

Funding in support of energy efficiency, sustainability and the environment take a hit in the proposed U.S. budget for FY 2014.

Though the Environmental Protection Agency gets funds taken by the sequester restored, overall cuts in funding reduce its operating budget to 2010 levels.

The bill provides $8.2 billion for the EPA, which is $143 million below 2013. Overall, EPA funding has been reduced by $2.1 billion, 20.4 percent, since 2010.

The proposed budget rejects President Obama’s request for $72 million for EPA regulatory programs, including $31 million for EPA climate regulatory programs, $18 million for EPA’s regulatory development office, and $23 million for EPA water regulatory programs.

It provides $2.35 billion in grants to states for drinking water and sewer constructions projects and $300 million, the total requested, for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

The bill grants exemption from EPA regulation for livestock producers over greenhouse gas regulations, for states and industry on regional air pollution issues.

Congress receives greater oversight on EPA’s review of mining permits and the Bureau of Land Management receives a bump in funding to grant those permits on public lands, while blocking the bureau from charging grazing fees on federal land.

The bill provides $10.2 billion for energy programs within the Department of Energy. A $620 million increase in funds is earmarked for research to advance coal, natural gas, oil and other fossil energy technologies, $889 million for nuclear energy research and development, and $154 million to further the next generation of nuclear power.

The bipartisan proposal also cuts weatherization assistance, granting only $874 million, 32 percent below the level requested by the president.

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