Alvin L. Alm served as the Environmental Protection Agency's deputy administrator from 1983 to 1985. He is senior vice president at Science Applications International Corp.

EPA's 1992 budget of $6 billion, roughly the same as last year, fails to keep up with the workload generated by new legislation. During the last decade, Congress enacted major amendments to many EPA laws, most notably in the areas of water pollution, hazardous wastes and most recently the Clean Air Act.

The gap between sweeping legislative enactments and the budget continues to grow. For example, the flat EPA budget needs to accommodate EPA's implemention of the Clean Air Act, enacted late last year. Over the last two years, EPA's operating programs for implementing the Clean Air Act increased by 66 percent to $517 million; 29 percent of this increase will occur from 1991 to 1992. To accommodate these increases, other programs were reduced or experienced no growth.

The budget includes other notable increases. The program to clean up hazardous waste sites increased from $1.62 billion to $1.75 billion . . . research and development increased from $260 million to $313 million . . . .

In general, the priorities in the budget make sense. {But} until legislative expectations and funding are brought into balance, EPA will continue to be criticized for failing to implement environmental laws fully.