Thursday, March 16, 2017

ECOS: President’s Proposed EPA Budget Cuts Will Adversely Affect State Environmental Agencies

The White House’s dramatic cuts proposed Thursday to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if enacted, affect grants that support an average of 27 percent of state environmental agency budgets (EABs), according to the Environmental Council of the States.
While EPA’s overall budget is reduced 31 percent, the proposed FY18 reduction of $482 million is a 44.5 percent cut to state Categorical Grants from the $1.082 billion annualized FY17 level.
The Superfund proposed FY18 reduction of $330 million is a 30 percent cut from the $1.092 billion annualized FY17 level. The proposed FY18 reduction of $233 million is a 48 percent cut to the EPA Office of Research and Development from the $483 million annualized FY17 level.
Wednesday, ECOS released its Green Report - Status of State Environmental Agency Budgets, FY2013- 15, showing that average federal funding to state EABs already has experienced a decline.
“Frankly, language in the President’s budget blueprint that ‘EPA would primarily support States and Tribes in their important role protecting air, land, and water in the 21st Century’ is wholly inconsistent with the Categorical Grant cuts,” says ECOS Executive Director & General Counsel Alexandra Dunn. ”States need these federal funds to carry out their critical functions of advancing human health and protecting the environment, and to issue permits that keep local economies moving. States operate 96 percent of federally delegated and authorized environmental programs and manage funds to implement environmental regulations and are an important link to the local regulated community and local governments.”
“We appreciate that the important state revolving loan funds are proposed for a less than one percent increase, and not a decrease,” said ECOS President John Linc Stine, Commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “However, the cuts to the core state programmatic grants are untenable. States welcome renewed confidence in our work and ability to protect human health and the environment. However, as ECOS’ report shows, the federal government supports this function at an average of 27 percent. A cut of nearly 45 percent – while state legislatures are in session – is frankly unworkable.”
ECOS’ March 15 report analyzed budget information from 46 state environmental agencies, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, finding state EABs increased 7 percent over three years, with the average state EAB being $203 million over three years.
The report looks at three primary funding sources – state EAB general fund support, federal government funding, and fees and other funding. The findings over three years are that: state EAB general fund support increased by $335 million (35 percent); federal government funding support to state EABs decreased by $64 million (3 percent); and fee and other fund support – the largest major funding source for state EABs – grew by $403 million (10 percent).
ECOS is the national nonprofit, nonpartisan association of state and territorial environmental commissioners.  For more information, visit the ECOS website.
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