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President’s 2008 Budget Proposal Worst Ever for States

The President’s February 5 budget proposal for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cuts $474 million from State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) for 2008, the highest one-year reduction in the agency’s history, according to the Environmental Council of the States.

“The states implement nearly every federal environmental program, and these proposed cuts to the states will adversely affect the nation’s environmental quality,” said Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) President Robert W. King, Jr. of South Carolina.

“It is disappointing to see a budget proposal that cuts air programs and water programs, and has the biggest cut to water infrastructure in the history of the agency,” said Steve Brown, ECOS’ executive director. “We strongly believe there are alternatives to this budget proposal that respect the tight federal fiscal situation while restoring funding to the top-priority areas of environmental protection: air, water, and waste management.”

The states’ environmental agencies are asking Congress to appropriate $1.22 billion in assistance grants to help states implement federal programs that EPA has delegated to them, and $2.51 billion in infrastructure assistance to help local governments with construction of drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities, and other cleanup actions.

In this budget, however, even non-STAG funds take a $28 million reduction, changing the pattern of recent years in which all cuts were absorbed by the states.

The largest cut was again placed on the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund. The 2007 Continuing Resolution (still pending in the U.S. Senate) has placed congressional earmarks into the SRF for 07, so the proposed EPA cut is extraordinarily large: about $396 million. This brings the total to around $420 million in infrastructure cuts alone.

Cuts include about $48 million from categorical grants:

· $35 million cut from air programs, a repeat of last year’s request;

· $10 million cut from Section 319 (non-point sources) of the wastewater programs;

· $7 million cut from environmental information support;

· $7 million cut from targeted watersheds;

· $1 million cut from wastewater operator training programs;

· $10.5 increase for Underground Storage Tanks;

· $1 million increase for RCRA (waste program);

· $1 million increase for wetlands; and

· $1 million increase for pollution prevention.

For more information, visit the Environmental Council of the States website.


2/9/2007

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