Resisting the perennial urge to expand the Environmental Protection Agency's construction grants program but acceding to cries for more research and enforcement money, Congress gave EPA $80 million more than President Reagan had requested for fiscal 1985.
But it took a paradoxical nibble out of the "Superfund" hazardous-waste cleanup program, cutting a $640 million request to $620 million even as members of Congress were citing the need for an expanded Superfund.
The agency's overall budget is $4.329 billion, a 2 percent increase over Reagan's $4.249 billion request.
The biggest chunk of that is the $2.4 billion construction grants program, which remained at its fiscal 1984 level.
EPA's operating budget rose $100 million, largely through increases in research programs and state enforcement grants.
The administration had requested a slight decrease in state grants. Instead, Congress approved a $51 million increase in "abatement and control" programs, 80 percent of it earmarked for the states.
Research programs, which were sharply cut in the administration's first two years, already were slated for a 13 percent increase in the president's fiscal 1985 budget. Congress raised that another $30 million, at the request of industrial and environmental groups, and directed most of the money into special projects, such as development of a cleaner coal-burning process.
Congress also kept alive EPA's small indoor-air-pollution program, directing $2 million into research in that area, and gave the agency $5 million for unspecified health-effects studies.
Meanwhile, the EPA is busily moving money around to accommodate some new responsibilities and new policies. One such "reprogramming" will transfer $1.8 million from other programs into a survey of leaking underground storage tanks, as Congress required when it passed a new version of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the law that governs hazardous-waste disposal.