Friday, May 28, 2021

Proposed Biden Budget Makes Historic Investments In EPA Programs To Support States, Environmental Justice, Science, Reverses Years Of Declining Budgets

On May 28, the Biden Administration's proposed BY 2022 budget request advances key EPA priorities, including tackling climate change, advancing environmental justice, protecting public health, improving infrastructure, creating jobs, and supporting and rebuilding the EPA workforce.

“The FY 2022 President’s Budget proposes the investments needed to advance EPA’s mission across the board. The Budget boosts support to our state, local, and Tribal partners, increases support for national treasures like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, accelerates job-creating water infrastructure improvements, elevates environmental justice across the agency, increases support for science, and importantly, makes sure all EPA offices have the operational budgets and workforces they need to deliver for the American people,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

At the Environmental Protection Agency, the President’s FY22 Budget Request supports--

-- Rebuilding Infrastructure and Creating Jobs. Preventing and cleaning up environmental damage that harms communities and poses a risk to public health and safety is an economic and moral imperative. 

The Budget provides $882 million for the Superfund Remedial program to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated land, reduce emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases from existing and abandoned infrastructure, and respond to environmental emergencies, oil spills, and natural disasters. 

With this funding, the EPA would begin the cleanup of more than 20 National Priority List (NPL) sites and accelerate work at more than 15 NPL sites with ongoing construction projects, and allow for enhanced engagement at lead contaminated sites. 

The $40 million increase to the Brownfields Projects Program will stimulate economic development and promote environmental revitalization across America. 

The innovative WIFIA program is funded at $80 million to unlock more affordable credit to communities and create jobs by rebuilding and repairing our nation’s water infrastructure. 

Under the Homeland Security: Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, $15 million will be used to prepare water system operators for potential hacking threats.

-- Protecting Public Health. Protecting public health is at the heart of everything EPA does. To this end, the Budget includes $75 million to accelerate toxicity studies and fund research to inform the regulatory developments of designating PFAS as hazardous substances while setting enforceable limits for PFAS. 

In FY 2022, the agency will advance public health by providing an additional $15 million and 87 FTE to build agency capacity in managing chemical safety and toxic substances under Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

The EPA will always work to protect the most vulnerable communities and members of society, especially children. The DERA program, with a $60 million increase in funding, will reduce pollution from diesel school buses and help protect the health of children in underserved communities. 

-- ​​​​​​​Tackling the Climate Crisis with the Urgency Science Demands. The EPA’s recently relaunched Climate Change Indicators website makes clear the threat posed by a warming planet. 

The FY 2022 Budget recognizes the opportunity in tackling the climate crisis by developing the technologies and solutions that will drive new markets and create good paying jobs. 

The Budget restores the Air, Climate and Energy Research Program and increases base funding by more than $60 million, including $30 million for break-through research through ARPA-C with the Department of Energy. 

The FY 2022 Budget provides an additional $6.1 million and 14 full-time equivalent employees (FTE) to implement the recently enacted American Innovation in Manufacturing Act and reduce potent greenhouse gases while supporting new manufacturing in the United States. 

To support international partners with the phase-out of HFCs, the Budget includes more than a $9 million increase for the Stratospheric Ozone Multilateral Fund.

-- Advancing Environmental Justice and Civil Rights. The Budget includes over $900 million in investments for environmental justice-related work, collectively known as EPA’s Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice Initiative, elevating environmental justice as a top priority across the Agency. 

The Budget also proposes a new national program dedicated to EJ to further that goal. The Budget provides $150 million for new environmental justice grant programs that aim to implement solutions to environmental burdens. 

The Budget also plans to overhaul the External Civil Rights Compliance Program with nearly $14 million directed to ensure enforcement of federal civil rights. 

The Budget proposes $100 million for the development of a new community monitoring and notification program in the Air Office that will monitor and provide real-time data to the public on environmental pollution, focusing on those communities with the greatest exposure to harmful levels of toxins.

-- Supporting States, Tribes and Regional Offices. More than half of the total budget request, $5.1 billion, will support states, Tribes, and localities through the State and Tribal Assistance Grants account. 

Within this amount, $1.2 billion in Categorical Grants will help EPA partners operate their environmental programs. This includes nearly $322 million for State and Local Air Quality Management and $21 million for Tribal Air Quality Management. 

The water State Revolving Funds (SRFs) ensure clean and safe water for communities across the nation, and in FY 2022 the Budget proposes $3.2 billion for the SRFs, an increase of $460 million to work to close the infrastructure financing gap. 

The Budget increases every Geographic Water Program, from Puget Sound to Long Island Sound, and includes $578 million to ensure restoration and sustainable use of these national treasures.

-- Prioritizing Science and Enhancing the Workforce. The FY 2022 Budget request includes an increase of 1,026 FTE to stop the downward slide in the size of EPA’s workforce in recent years to better meet the mission. 

The agency’s regional and headquarters offices have seen declining workforces over the last four years and the demands of protecting public health and serving communities demands a restoration of programmatic support and capacity. 

Within this increase are 114 FTE to propel and expand EPA’s research programs to ensure the agency has the science programs and communities demand from the EPA. 

Also included are 86 additional FTE to support the criminal and civil enforcement programs to ensure environmental laws are followed. 

These investments are essential in guiding Agency policy making and regulatory action to ensure the safety of human health and the environment for years to come.

Click Here for the complete announcement.

Resource Links - Biden Budget:

-- U.S. Environmental Protection Release On FY 2022 Budget Request

-- Federal Office Of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement Release On Budget Request

-- U.S. Department Of Agriculture Release On FY 2022 Budget Request

-- White House Fact Sheet On Budget Request

-- FY 2022 President’s Budget Request

Related Articles - Federal Budget:

-- Biden's First Budget Makes Significant Investments In Abandoned Coal Mine Reclamation, Community Economic Development Efforts 

-- U.S. House Committee OKs Bipartisan Bills To Prevent Expiration Of Federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, Expand Economic Development Opportunities 

-- National Conservation Districts Applaud Proposed Conservation Funding Increases In Biden Budget Proposal

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation Praises Biden Proposed Budget Giving Chesapeake Bay Program Full Funding

[Posted: May 28, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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