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Environmental Protection Agency: Lawmakers weigh in on chemical assessments, forbid funds to be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions

by Cheryl Hogue
February 3, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 5

The fiscal 2014 omnibus appropriations law provides the Environmental Protection Agency with $8.2 billion this year. This figure represents a rise of almost 4% from the $7.9 billion the agency received in its 2013 postsequester budget. The agency’s 2014 appropriation includes $759 million for science and technology programs.

Lawmakers are putting pressure on EPA to change its chemical risk assessments process to conform to recommendations from the National Research Council. Those recommendations came in a 2011 report, in which NRC criticized EPA’s assessment of formaldehyde. In the language accompanying the omnibus law, Congress directs the agency to document how it has implemented NRC’s recommendations for all assessments that EPA releases in 2014. On top of this, lawmakers want EPA to report to them on how it implemented the NRC recommendations in 2012 and 2013.

In addition, language accompanying the law orders EPA to conduct workforce planning for the agency’s labs. Legislators cite a 2011 Government Accountability Office report that recommended EPA identify critical skill gaps in its current lab workforce and the workforce the agency may need in the future.

The new law takes aim at EPA efforts on climate change by forbidding it from using 2014 funds to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock or manure management systems. The omnibus statute also requires the Administration to report to Congress on all federal agencies’ expenditures for climate-change programs.


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