Bush Seeks EPA Cut

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH has proposed a $7.57 billion budget for the Washington-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in fiscal year 2006. The figure is a decrease of 5.6 percent from the $8.02 billion that Congress allocated for the agency during fiscal year 2005, which began last October.

Much of the decrease comes from Bush's proposal to reduce the EPA's contributions to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund by roughly $360 million, or 33 percent. The fund combines federal and state monies to make low-interest loans for wastewater treatment and pollution control projects.

However, the president has requested a more than 2 percent increase in funding for the Superfund initiative, from $1.25 billion in fiscal year 2005 to $1.28 billion. Bush also has asked for $210 million to fund the Brownfields Program, which would represent an increase of nearly $47 million, or 29 percent.

Overall, the Bush Administration's proposed budget would allocate 22.3 percent of the agency's fiscal year 2006 funds to “land preservation and restoration,” which the EPA defines as programs that “preserve and restore the land by using innovative waste management practices and cleaning up contaminated properties to reduce risks posed by releases of harmful substances.”

Bush's proposed 2005 fiscal year budget would have allocated 23.1 percent of the EPA's funds to land preservation and restoration. However, the complete breakdown of the agency's 2005 budget has yet to be finalized by the Washington-based Office of Management and Budget, and Congress. Bush requested $7.79 billion for the EPA in fiscal year 2005.