slow growthThe Obama Administration today proposed a Fiscal Year 2014 (FY 2014) budget of $8.153 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This request is $296 million below the EPA’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012.

EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said the figure takes a “balanced approach” to funding the agency that includes increased investments in more efficient technologies as well as necessary program eliminations or reductions.

In a statement following the announcement, the EPA said that it will transform the way it does business, ensuring the best use of human and financial resources, while continuing to pursue the agency’s mission.

Fiscal Year 2014 budget highlights include:

$176.5 million for climate change – specifically for the agency’s work with partners and stakeholders to cut greenhouse gas emissions. These funds will support reducing emissions in the U.S. and abroad through careful, cost-effective rulemaking and voluntary programs that focus on the largest entities while also encouraging businesses and consumers to limit unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.

$625 million for enforcement and compliance. The EPA said through the Next Generation Compliance initiative, it is developing and implementing new methods based on advances in both monitoring and information technology that will improve efficiency, leading to better compliance and enabling the agency to focus on the most serious violations. By leveraging electronic reporting and working to reduce redundant paperwork and regulatory reporting burdens on business and our governmental partners, EPA will contribute to improving environmental and human health protection.

E-Enterprise to Assist Businesses and Improve EPA and States’ Access to Data. E-Enterprise, a $60 million initiative will enable EPA to begin developing tools and expanding systems designed to reduce the reporting burden on regulated entities and provide EPA and state regulators with easier access to and use of environmental data. E-Enterprise seeks to replace out-dated, paper reporting with integrated e-reporting systems using technology and shared IT services, while encouraging greater transparency and compliance. Similar to online banking, the new single portal system will allow regulated businesses to register and receive tailored information based on their unique needs. This electronic system is expected to facilitate commercial entities’ permit applications and emissions reporting as well as provide information on applicable regulations and compliance status.

Resources for our state, local and tribal partners to build integrated data systems that will improve the quality of data collected by EPA and the states for verifying compliance with regulations, and reduce reporting burden on industry and improve services for the regulated entities and the American public. Additionally, E-Enterprise builds on efforts such as e-manifest, which is projected to reduce reporting costs for regulated businesses in the range of $77 to $126 million annually by replacing the 5.1 million paper manifests for hazardous waste shipments with a modern tracking and reporting system.

Suppor for state and tribal partners. The FY 2014 budget includes a total of $1,135.8 million in categorical grants, an increase of $47 million over FY 2012 levels. EPA remains committed to supporting our state and tribal partners, the primary implementers of environmental programs, remains a priority of the EPA. Funding to states and tribes in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account continues to be the largest percentage of the EPA's budget request, at nearly 40% in FY 2014.

Funds for ENERGY STAR, the Global Methane Initiative, the GHG Reporting Rule, and state and local technical assistance and partnership programs, such as SmartWay. The agency says ENERGY STAR program continues to yield significant results through its 20,000 partners, pointing to an estimated 242 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent that were prevented from being emitted into the air. The budget also includes $20 million for research to understand the impacts of climate change on human health and vulnerable ecosystems. This research will evaluate the interactions between climate change and air quality and develop approaches to adapt to a changing climate and provide state, local and Tribal partners with tools and technologies to support their climate change programs.