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Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 02/13/2012

Obama’s EPA budget: 1.2% cut would reduce aid to states, but Chesapeake Bay would get more funds

The Obama administration proposed trimming the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget 1.2 percent Monday, cutting money to the states and for hazardous cleanup even as it boosted money to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

The $8.3 billion funding request represents a $105 million cut below EPA’s 2012 enacted level. In it, the White House slashed funding for the Superfund Remedial Program by $33 million but pledged to provide the money “necessary for EPA to be prepared to respond to emergency releases of hazardous substances and circumstances that place the public at imminent risk of exposure and harm.”

The proposed budget would also cut $50 million by eliminating what the administration describes as “outdated, underperforming, and overlapping programs within EPA.”

The EPA’s budget — especially its programs aimed at addressing climate change — have been the source of intense attacks on Capitol Hill, and it is likely congressional Republicans will seek far greater cuts than what the administration is seeking.

In the budget proposal the White House allocated an additional $15 million for restoring the Chesapeake Bay, the target of a major initiative to curb the nutrient and sediment flowing into it from several states. The budget maintained the $300 million slated for aiding the Great Lakes, whose habitat and waters have been degraded over time.

The administration also states in the document that it “continues to support dedicating a significant amount” of what it will recover from BP in federal fines stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill to Gulf Coast recovery efforts, though it does not specify an exact figure.

The White House reiterated its pledge to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change 17 percent below 2005 levels, highlighting the first-ever greenhouse gas emission limits for vehicles it finalized in 2010. The budget provides for upgrades to the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory so the government can implement both the federal renewable fuel standard and fuel efficiency standards that limit the carbon output of cars and light trucks.

By  |  11:34 AM ET, 02/13/2012

 
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