EPA 2004 Fund Aims for 15 Superfund Sites

President Bush has asked Congress for a budget of $7.63 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., for fiscal year, 2004. The amount is $10 million more than the fiscal year 2003 budget.

Waste management, restoration of contaminated sites and emergency response accounts for 24.2 percent of the 2004 budget. A $362 million cut from federal contributions to a fund that supplies loans to wastewater treatment plants would allow for increases in other budget areas. For instance, Superfund monies make up a $150 million increase.

The EPA says the extra Superfund assistance — adding to a program total of $1.39 billion — would allow for 10 to 15 new site cleanups, but the Associated Press reports the EPA is expecting to complete cleanups at 40 sites during fiscal year 2004 — the lowest number since 1991.

The EPA would use $210 million for small-business liability relief, Brownfields revitalization, and for the Environmental Restoration Act, which includes $10 million to provide assistance to states and tribes.

The budget also will cover Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action. According to the EPA, 3,500 industrial facilities require cleanup under the RCRA program, and 1,700 are high priority because of immediate risk to people and/or the environment.