EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified today before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on her agency’s $10.5 billion budget request for fiscal year 2010. Here are excerpts from her prepared remarks:
The President requests $10.5 billion for FY 2010 to carry out EPA’s mission to protect human health and safeguard and improve the environment. This budget represents a 37 percent increase over our FY 2009 Budget -- the highest level ever for EPA. It reflects both the challenges and promise we face in an era of higher energy costs, global climate change, and economic crisis. We recognize that now is the time to make the environmental investments to support a cleaner energy economy and a more sustainable future.
This budget starts the work needed to transform our economy through investment in cutting-edge green technologies, repairing crumbling infrastructure and strengthening our core regulatory and scientific capabilities to make the Nation’s water, air, and land cleaner for our communities, families, and children. This budget keeps EPA on the job protecting the environment. It helps states, tribes, and local governments stay on the job by providing critical partnership assistance. And, it helps put Americans back on the job.
The FY 2010 budget request provides a substantial increase for EPA programs, reflecting greater opportunity for EPA to address public health and environmental challenges that can no longer be postponed, in areas such as water infrastructure, protecting our freshwater resources, laying the foundation to address climate change, and addressing gaps in research as well as chemical management.
This FY 2010 budget reflects President Obama’s commitment to usher in a new era in environmental stewardship and puts us on a clear path to a cleaner and safer planet.
Madam Chairman and Members of the Committee, I now would like to provide a bit more detail about the major environmental protection priorities addressed in this budget.
Invests in Water Infrastructure The most significant investments in the FY 2010 budget include $3.9 billion total for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to fund water infrastructure projects for states, tribes, and territories. This budget includes $2.4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1.5 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. These investments will help the Nation build, improve, and repair the infrastructure that provides us with reliable and safe sources of water.
We estimate that this 157 percent funding increase in the State Revolving Funds will finance 1,000 clean water and 700 drinking water projects across America – projects that will upgrade and update the nation’s aging water infrastructure, assure compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements, make water delivery more efficient, and create American jobs that pay well. These investments channel critical funding for water system pipe replacements and help address an estimated 240,000 water pipe breaks that occur across America each year and waste millions of gallons of water.
The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds provide grants to states to capitalize their own revolving funds, providing infrastructure financing to communities, making water infrastructure more efficient, and supporting green jobs in the 21st century. Because repayments and interest are recycled back into the program, these State Revolving Funds generate funding for loans even without Federal capitalization. We estimate that for every Federal dollar invested, approximately two dollars in financing are provided to municipalities.
The Administration will make these water investments with an eye to the future. EPA will continue to work with state and local partners to develop sustainability policies, including management and pricing, conservation, planning adequate long-term funding for future capital needs, and providing equitable consideration of small system customers. As President Obama has said, now is the time to make long overdue investments in clean energy and new infrastructure to create a platform for entrepreneurs and workers to build an economy that will lead us into a better future. This significant investment sends a clear message to American taxpayers that the water infrastructure, that all of us rely on every day, will be repaired, maintained, and modernized for the 21st century.
Initiates a Comprehensive Approach to Slow Global Warming EPA’s FY 2010 Budget supports efforts to develop a comprehensive energy and climate change policy to increase energy independence, move toward a greener economy and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There is not a moment to lose in confronting the rapid advance of climate change.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Cap and Trade Program) The FY 2010 Budget includes a $19 million increase to support the President’s effort to develop a comprehensive energy and climate change plan to transition America to a clean energy economy, reduce oil usage, and slow global warming. It will allow us to work on a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and work with industry sectors to report high-quality greenhouse gas emission data that is the foundation of an effective climate policy. This funding supports design, development, and testing the data management system, developing guidance and training materials to assist the regulated community, conducting industry-specific workshops and developing source measurement technologies for greenhouse gases.
This budget provides funding to develop environmentally sound methodological approaches needed to implement a possible cap and trade program, including offsets, and to strengthen climate partnership programs. EPA will develop protocols to measure the effectiveness of offset projects, and provide advice on effective, environmentally sound approaches to offsets.
Chemical Risks Just as we need to address climate change, we also need to manage chemical risks. The FY 2010 Budget requests $55 million, an increase of $8 million over FY 2009 levels, to fund an enhanced toxics program to screen, assess, and reduce chemical risks. This 17 percent increase will fulfill U.S. commitments under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America to complete screening-level hazard and risk characterization and initiate action as needed on more than 6,750 organic U.S. chemicals.
Research and Development The Research and Development programs are funded at $842 million for the Science and Technology appropriation, and increase of $52 million from FY 2009. This funding will support the rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analyses that we must use as a basis for our environmental decisions. It will allow us to assess, develop and compile scientifically rigorous tools to inform decision-making and assist in incorporating green infrastructure into existing practices.
Biofuels The FY 2010 budget includes $5.6 million, an increase of $5 million over FY 2009, for biofuels research and sustainability analysis mandated by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Biofuels lifecycle and sustainability research will provide better information to decision makers on the trade offs and opportunities associated with increased biofuels production.
Green Infrastructure Research The FY 2010 budget provides $3.6 million to expand green infrastructure research to assess, develop and compile scientifically rigorous tools and models that will be used by the Agency’s water and other programs, states, tribes, and municipalities to help advance the deployment of green infrastructure. This research will help EPA and its non-Federal partners further their understanding of the benefits it provides, and aid in integrating green infrastructure into water pollution control programs at the Federal, state, and local level.
Air ToxicsI believe EPA has a particular duty to inform America’s most vulnerable populations about the environmental risks we face. I recognize that for the nation’s vulnerable populations – the disadvantaged, the elderly, children, and historically disadvantaged communities –are least able to bear additional increments of environmental risk.
Therefore, the budget also includes $3.3 million for air toxics research to protect and improve the quality of the air that each of us breathes. Air toxics research studies the effects to human health of toxic air pollutants and includes evaluating risk assessment methodologies to support the development and implementation of regulatory programs that assist state and local governments and tribes develop clean air plans. The FY 2010 budget also supports improvement of risk assessment tools, including National-Scale Air Toxics Assessment; analytical support to states as they enhance air toxics monitoring near selected schools, and 5 FTE in EPA’s Regional offices to provide technical assistance and coordination.
These combined scientific efforts do more than build our understanding of environmental programs; they remind us all of the need for transparent, clear communication of the facts and risks of the environmental challenges we face together.
Strengthens Environmental Enforcement EPA’s FY 2010 budget proposes the largest enforcement and compliance budget in history -- $600 million, an increase of $32 million from last year. The $600 million enforcement budget reflects the President’s strong commitment to enforcing of our Nation’s environmental laws and ensures that EPA has the resources necessary to maintain a robust and effective criminal and civil enforcement program. Specifically, the request includes an increase of nearly 30 additional positions primarily for civil and criminal enforcement. In addition, we will enhance efforts to integrate environmental justice considerations in EPA’s programs and policies as well as fulfill environmental requirements with respect to other federal agencies’ projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Experience has shown that investing in our enforcement program yields tangible pollution reductions and fundamental behavioral change in the regulated community . The FY 2010 Budget will advance EPA’s mission, and do so with unparalleled transparency. The success of our efforts depends on earning and maintaining the trust of the public we serve by upholding values of transparency and openness in conducting EPA operations.
Superfund The $1.3 billion Superfund budget contains an increase of $24 million over FY 2009. Funding in the budget will enhance enforcement and removal work as well as support the Superfund program. The budget also includes a proposal to reinstate the Superfund tax that expired in 1995. Beginning in FY 2011, the taxes should generate $1 billion a year, rising to $2 billion a year by 2019 – all to fund needed cleanups across America. These efforts focus on ensuring that contaminated sites are ready to be returned to beneficial use by our communities.
Brownfields The 2010 budget provides a total of $175 million for the Brownfields program, a $5 million increase from 2009. This includes $149.5 million for Brownfields State and Tribal Assistance Grants to continue to provide Brownfields assessment, revolving loan fund, clean-up, and job-training grants.
The Brownfields program is designed to help states, tribes, local communities and other stakeholders work together to assess, safely cleanup, and reuse Brownfields. Revitalizing these once productive properties helps communities by removing blight, satisfying the growing demand for land, helping limit urban sprawl, enabling economic development, and improving quality of life.
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks The FY 2010 budget requests $128 million for the Leaking Underground Storage Tanks program, including $113 million for the LUST trust fund. The Leaking Underground Storage Tanks program promotes rapid and effective responses to releases from Underground Storage Tanks containing petroleum and hazardous substances by enhancing state, local, and tribal enforcement and response capability. EPA supports state and tribal underground storage tank programs to clean up contaminated sites, promote innovative and environmentally friendly approaches in corrective action to enhance and streamline the remediation process, and measure and evaluate national program progress and performance. Almost 80 percent (or 377,019) of all reported leaks have been addressed to date, leaving a backlog of almost 103,000 cleanups that have not yet been addressed. In FY 2010, EPA will continue to work with the states and tribes to complete LUST cleanups in an effort to reduce the remaining backlog.
All three of these programs – Superfund, Brownfields, and Leaking Underground Storage Tanks – focus on cleaning up contaminated sites to ensure these sites are ready to be returned to beneficial use by our communities, putting both people and property to work.
Homeland Security EPA has a vital role in homeland security. The Agency has been called upon to respond to five major disasters and nationally significant incidents in the past seven years. In the coming years, EPA’s homeland security roles and responsibilities will continue to be of the utmost importance as the Agency enhances its preparedness.
The FY 2010 Budget requests $160 million to support the Agency’s homeland security efforts. The emphasis for FY 2010 is on several areas: applied research for decontamination methods and agents; ensuring trained personnel and key lab capacities are in place to be drawn upon in the event of multiple large-scale catastrophic incidents; and enhancing critical water infrastructure security efforts.
EPA’s FY 2010 Budget provides an increase of $9 million to fully fund five Water Security Initiative pilot cooperative agreements. The Water Alliance for Threat Reduction Activities. The Water Security Initiative will include continued design and demonstration, of a system to test, and evaluate the appropriate response to drinking water contamination threats. Adoption of effective water security guidance on contamination systems will be issued upon completion of these projects.
Conclusion Madam Chairman and Members of the Committee, the FY 2010 budget request sets EPA on a clear path to accomplishing the important work Americans support to address the pressing environmental challenges facing our nation. We are honored to have the job of protecting human health and the environment. And, we are proud that this $10.5 billion funds investments in both our environmental and economic future.