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Bush Seeks EPA Cut

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH is seeking $7.2 billion to fund the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of the 2007 fiscal year budget proposal he submitted to Congress last month. If approved, the amount would represent a nearly 5 percent cut in the agency's funding and continue a three-year downward trend. It also would be the smallest EPA budget in 10 years.

Of interest to the solid waste industry, the Superfund program would see a slight increase to $1.3 billion, a $17 million increase over the enacted 2006 budget. A new program included in the proposed budget is the $50 million Diesel Emissions Reduction Program, which would promote cleaner-burning diesel fuels and retrofit existing diesel engines.

The 2007 proposal seeks $184 million for EPA programs related to Homeland Security, an increase of $55 million (43 percent) over last year's enacted budget. The amount includes $33 million to safeguard the nation's water supply from terrorist attacks. The administration also would allocate $38 million to prevent leakage from underground storage tanks, a $26 million increase over the approved FY 2006 budget.

But many other programs would see dramatic cuts, most notably a 40 percent reduction in grants to state and local governments for land and water conservation. The cuts include a 22 percent reduction (down to $688 million) in low-interest loans to states for treating wastewater, reducing pollution from non-specific sources, and managing watersheds and estuaries.

By percentage, the largest cut in the agency — 80 percent — would be to funding for the electronic catalog used to track tens of thousands of EPA documents and research.