Thursday, December 15, 2011

Consolidated Appropriations Package Would Cut EPA Significantly; Provide Army Corps with Flood Reconstruction Money

The House Appropriations Committee late last night released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, 1,219-page Consolidated Appropriations bill package. Should the House and Senate leaders come to an agreement with respect to moving ahead on a "megabus" spending package, this (or something closely resembling it) would likely be what the two chambers agree to vote on (for a summary of the three separate bills, click here (PDF file). However, it will likely take into Friday (or even into the weekend) before divisions between the Democratic-majority Senate and Republican-led House are overcome and a deal reached on the "megabus" package or on yet another Continuing Resolution (avoiding a long-term government shutdown, which would start on Friday night, absent new spending authorization). Nonetheless, the announced package is probably a good road-map of what will eventually come out of this protracted end-of-the-year appropriations process.

According to the Committee's summary, overall funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be reduced by $1.8 billion (-18.4%) from calendar year 2011 spending levels. The summary seeks to justify these cuts by noting that "funding for EPA has been unparalleled over the past several years, leading to unnecessary spending and contributing to the agency’s regulatory overreach, which has a detrimental effect on American businesses and the recovering economy." The conference agreement would fund EPA at $8.4 billion for FY 2012; a $233 million reduction below the FY 2011 enacted level and $524 million below the President’s budget proposal request. The conference agreement would specifically cut:
  • $14 million (-6%) in clean air and climate research programs;
  • $12 million (-9.5%) in EPA’s regulatory development office; and
  • $14 million (-5%) to air regulatory programs.
  • $101 million (combined) from the Clean Water  and Drinking Water  State Revolving Funds: $1.469 billion provided for the Clean Water and $919.363 million for the Drinking Water funds.
In addition, the bill includes:
  • A 33% reduction to the EPA Administrator’s immediate office;
  • A $78 million reduction for EPA operations/administration, which includes $41 million (-5%) in cuts to EPA’s regulatory programs;
  • A $14 million (-6.2%) reduction for uncoordinated climate and other air research; and
  • An elimination of $4 million in funding that EPA has used to delay the processing of Appalachian mining permits.
According to the summary the following are among other Mississippi River Basin-relevant provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations bill package:
  • $1.7 billion in funding for disaster recovery assistance through the Army Corps of Engineers to "help repair damage to critical infrastructure caused by recent storms and floods, and will help prepare for future disaster events."
  • $1.5 billion in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; a cut of $28 million below last year’s level. Funding for mitigation fish hatcheries is restored.
  • National Park Service (NPS) is funded at $2.6 billion, which is $32 million below last year’s level. This funding level "will allow all National Parks to remain open and NPS activities to continue" according to the summary statement.
The Consolidated Appropriations bill package consists of three separate bills (H.R. 3671 — "Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012;" H.R. 3672 — "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act;" and H. Con. Res. 94 — "Directing the Clerk of the House of Representatives to make corrections in the enrollment of H.R. 3671").

1 comment:

  1. Thursday evening members of a joint Senate-House Conference Committee agreed to the provisions of a massive ($1 trillion) Federal appropriations bill that, when approved by Congress and signed by the President later today will fund the Federal government through the remainder of the 2012 Fiscal Year. The bill package is the same as the 1,219-page Consolidated Appropriations bill package posted late Wednesday night by House appropriators, with the exception of two minor policy changes. For an updated summary of the agreement, you can visit here: