EPA blends cuts with targeted increases

Agency's request increases operating budget for more enforcement and grants to states, but low-interest loan program takes a hit.

The Environmental Protection Agency will see its overall budget drop by 1.2 percent, or $105 million, below 2012 levels in the president’s 2013 budget request.

Overall, the request is $8.9 billion, compared to $9.4 billion in 2012, with reductions coming in state-revolving funds, which are reduced by $359 million. The funds are used for low-interest loans that state and local governments can use for clean water programs, such as building new water and sewage treatment plans.

The budget request also cuts the Superfund budget by $33 million, and another $50 million was cut by eliminating what the White House called “outdated, underperforming and overlapping programs.”

On the plus side of the budget, $36 million is being requested for new technologies such as establishing electronic reporting for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

EPA’s overall operating budget increases to $3.8 billion, compared to $3.6 billion estimated for 2012 and $3.7 billion in actual 2011 spending. The operating budget increase will go to enforcement activities and public health protections and an increase in grants to the states and tribal governments, the White House said.

The 2013 budget request is $1.8 billion below EPA’s 2011 budget.