Earlier this month, on Valentine's Day to be exact, the Obama Administration unveiled its proposed FY 2012 budget, which reflects an approximate thirteen percent (13%) decrease in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As everyone keeping even moderately abreast of current events is painfully aware, President Obama is faced with the herculean task of producing a proposed budget that is not only fiscally sound in response to the financial devastation caused by the Great Recession, but also practically prudent in its ultimate application. In the case of the EPA, the specific task at hand is to reasonably reduce operating overhead while still enabling the agency to effectively carry out its primary purpose of protecting human health and the environment.
One person who feels that the FY 2012 EPA proposed budget has successfully achieved this delicate balance is EPA Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, who was quoted as saying:
"As millions of families are cutting back and spending less, they expect the same good fiscal sense out of their government. That is why this budget reflects the tough choices needed for our nation's short- and long-term fiscal health – and allows EPA to maintain its fundamental mission of protecting human health and the environment. This budget focuses our resources on the most urgent health and environmental challenges we face. Though it includes significant cuts, it provides EPA with what we need to fundamentally protect the health of the American people."
While a thirteen percent (13%) reduction sounds like a fairly significant decrease in the EPA's current operating budget, the specific line item reductions reflect the fact that President Obama is certainly not intending to remove the EPA's teeth as a powerful force in effectuating the United State's policy for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, those on the forefront of the clean water movement here in this country can't help but feel a bit "unloved" as a result of this proposed EPA budget, with the lion's share of cuts coming from reductions in state funding for water infrastructure projects.
Click here for a succinct break down of the specific EPA programs and initiatives to be cut along with an astute analysis of the potential political fallout that may arise in response to the ones that survived the chopping block; and here to see how the battle over the EPA's ability to regulate is playing out on Capital Hill, with the Republican-controlled House voting last week (249 - 177) to block the EPA from having the ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions that many scientists say contribute to global warming.