EPA’s Budget to be Cut by $105 Million


by Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter

OMAHA (DTN) — The EPA’s budget released Monday calls for increases in a variety of programs that affect agriculture

The agency’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget would set overall spending at about $105 million less than 2012 levels, but recommends funding increases of about $46.1 million to support a variety of agency efforts affecting U.S. farmers.

Those areas include:

– A $15.3 million increase to support the Chesapeake Bay restoration to include state efforts to set total maximum daily loads to reduce nutrient runoff.

Farmers and others in the region have expressed concern about the science used by EPA to establish nutrient standards in watersheds.

– A $12.9 million increase to support the permit program in the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System to include a new federal requirement for federal permits to apply pesticides and to develop an electronic reporting tool.

U.S. farm groups have opposed the development of a discharge permit program for pesticide applicators. EPA officials have said the program applies only to those applicators who spray directly to waters of the U.S. to kill mosquitoes and other pests.

Farm groups have expressed concern that the program will subject individual farmers to lawsuits from environmental groups for applying pesticides to puddles in fields, based on the legal definition of waters of the U.S.

– A $4.9 million increase in the greenhouse gas emissions reporting program that affects hundreds of agribusinesses in 41 states, http://bit.ly/…, and for new source performance standards as a possible precursor to regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

– An additional $6.5 million to expand wetlands protections in the Clean Water Act.

Individual farmers have faced violations of the Clean Water Act for conducting work on ditches and other areas of their property, based on EPA allegations that farmers destroyed protected wetlands.

– An additional $38.1 million to expand enforcement and compliance with environmental laws, to implement Spill Prevention, Containment and Countermeasures and to increase the number of inspections on high-risk facility response plan for oil facilities and to develop and implement a third party audit program for non-high-risk containment facilities.


In EPA’s proposed budget calls for an additional $39 million in grants to help states implement National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

Though EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said publicly that the agency does not plan to regulate particulate matter, or dust on U.S. farms through ambient air-quality standards, farm groups continue to express concern that EPA was planning to do so. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill attempting to prevent the agency from regulating farm dust in 2011.

“Particulate matter is linked to tens of thousands of premature deaths per year and repeated exposure to ozone can cause acute respiratory problems and lead to permanent lung damage,” EPA said in its 2013 budget plan. “Implementing the existing PM (particulate matter) national ambient air quality standards, as well as the potential revised 2012 PM NAAQS, are among the agency’s highest priorities for FY 2013.

“The EPA will provide technical and policy assistance to states developing or revising attainment state implementation plans and will designate areas as attainment or nonattainment.”

Farmers in non-attainment areas in California and Arizona already have been required by EPA to cut dust from the farm.


Though cap and trade legislation long ago died in Congress, the Obama administration’s EPA budget released Monday continues to call on Congress to enact climate change legislation to support greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the U.S. in the range of 17{962fe9be9a8a5c386944bfa41f48d98b010325707b70b1fa6182bcabd27c5d7f} below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83{962fe9be9a8a5c386944bfa41f48d98b010325707b70b1fa6182bcabd27c5d7f} by 2050.

EPA’s Jackson said during a news conference Monday that EPA has made a request to increase funds from about $168.6 million spent in 2012 on climate change-related programs, to a requested $201.5 million for fiscal year 2013.

Jackson said although Congress is unlikely to enact climate change legislation in the near future, the agency continues to spend money on climate change programs.

Those programs include establishing new fuel vehicle and emission standards.


EPA’s overall budget attempts to save money through reductions in the drinking water and clean water state revolving funds, as well as cuts to superfund remedial activities, the elimination of “outdated, underperforming, and overlapping programs within EPA,” according to the proposed budget document.

According to the proposed budget, EPA’s expenditures would enhance “EPA and USDA coordination to reduce nonpoint source pollution, the largest cause of impaired waters, to achieve measurable improvements in water quality and ecosystem health by targeting resources and helping landowners implement voluntary stewardship practices.”

The EPA budget also calls for a $93 million increase to assist states in addressing additional responsibilities associated with achieving “more stringent air quality standards” and for state water pollution control grants to address nutrient loadings.

Access EPA’s 2013 budget plan here, http://1.usa.gov/….


© Copyright 2012 DTN/The Progressive Farmer, A Telvent Brand. All rights reserved.

Posted with DTN Permission by Haylie Shipp


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