Congress today passed the much-debated budget bill, the product of a partisan compromise reached late last Friday to avert a government shutdown. The bill reduces the EPA's budget by 16% as to compared to the 2010 fiscal year, down from $ 10.3 billion to $ 8.7 billion. The majority of the $ 1.6 billion reduction is taken from programs that provide aid to states for implementation of environmental laws. Superfund, the hazardous waste cleanup program, received a cut of $ 23 million, roughly 2%. The bill also chops $ 49 million, or 13%, from climate change programs.
Although it must work with less money, the EPA will be allowed to continue its carbon regulation regime. Democrats managed to fend off Republican-sponsored policy riders that would have barred such regulation. Other GOP-backed provisions that made it into the final bill include:
- elimination of the position of the president's special adviser on climate change, a post vacated by Carol Browner earlier this year;
- removal of gray wolves in the northern Rockies from the endangered species list; and
- defunding of the Department of Interior's controversial new Wild Lands policy, which allowed the agency to designate and protect public lands as having "wilderness characteristics," a move that some Western lawmakers denounced as circumventing congressional authority to designate wilderness lands and potentially closing off lands to oil and gas development and other commercial uses.
The House Appropriations Committee has posted the full text of the budget bill as well as a summary and list of highlighted program cuts here. Articles from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal also discuss the bill's environmental funding implications.