EPA: Budget Cut, But Gains In Select Areas | February 28, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 9 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 9 | pp. 23-24
Issue Date: February 28, 2011

Cover Stories: More Support For Science

EPA: Budget Cut, But Gains In Select Areas

Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: Federal Budget, Environmental Protection Agency

President Obama is proposing to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s overall budget by 12.9% in 2012, reducing the agency’s budget to $9.0 billion, down from this year’s estimated $10.3 billion. Yet the President would trim EPA’s research program only 2.4%. The agency’s science and technology 2012 budget proposal is $826 million, compared with $846 million this year.

“We are restructuring our research program to be more integrated and cross-disciplinary than ever before, a step that will allow for more efficient and effective scientific operations,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson says.

Part of the savings EPA would recoup through this restructuring would help continue funding for 243 existing external science fellowships and permit an additional 105. Also, the agency would increase the number of its grants for research on potential endocrine disrupters, green infrastructure, and risks that hydraulic fracturing may pose to public health.

The proposal would also boost chemical safety and sustainability research spending, which would rise 14.4% from an estimated $121 million in 2011 to $138 million in 2012. The extra money would support work on computational toxicology and green chemistry, among other activities.

Funding for water resource research would increase 6.9% from an estimated $111 million in 2011 to almost $119 million next year, under Obama’s proposal. As part of its spending plan, EPA would address issues that came to light during last year’s disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2012, EPA intends to develop or revise protocols for testing the toxicity and effectiveness of oil spill dispersants and other products that are listed in its National Contingency Plan for spill response. The agency also plans to study the performance of dispersants for deepwater applications.

Cuts to EPA research in three categories, however, would offset these increases. For instance, the budget proposal would slash EPA’s homeland security research by 35.7%, to $42 million in 2012. Jackson says the drop in part reflects completion of homeland security projects that the agency has been involved with for years.

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