In releasing his agency's 2009 budget, as proposed by the Bush Administration, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson said the president's budget request puts the EPA on "a course to deliver a cleaner, healthier tomorrow."
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who has recently been at odds with the agency over its refusal to grant California a waver to impose its own, stricter tailpipe emissions standards, had a different take on the budget, which was cut by roughly $330 million (4.4%).
Boxer, who is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said, "With this budget the President is once again sending a clear message that cleaning up our environment is not a priority for the Bush Administration."
According to a statement released by Boxer, the budget proposes severe reductions in several key programs for protecting health, cutting air and water pollution, and restoring the environment.
In addition to cutting funds for clean water protection programs and the clean-up of toxic sites, Boxer's statement said the president's budget eliminates funding for the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Registry, zeroes out over $9.8 million in funding for California Emission Reduction programs, and cuts 38% of the funding for programs that seek to use science and technology to address global warming.
Furthermore, Boxer said normally, EPA provides a detailed "Budget Justification" document with an explanation of all budget figures, but this year has failed to do so, undermining the transparency of the President's proposed budget.
EPA Administrator, Johnson, did not specifically address any of the budget cuts in his statement, but said the budget proposes to strengthen EPA's efforts in energy and homeland security.
Johnson noted the following budget items:
- An additional $32 million to protect against terrorist attacks and natural disasters--a total of $170 million
- The largest enforcement budget ever--an increase of $9 million, bringing the total to $563 million
- An additional $14 million to meet the increased permitting and environmental review responsibilities that have come with the upsurge in proposed energy projects
- $49.2 million for Clean Diesel grants--$15 million specifically targeted to support EPA's Sustainable Ports Initiative
- increased spending on nanotechnology research spending.
Johnson's statement contradicts Boxer's in the area of superfund toxic-site cleanup. Boxer listed roughly $13 million in cuts, while Johnson says the budget proposes an increase of $10.2 million.
Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, also opposed what he saw as cuts to clean-up funding.
"Superfund cleanups have fallen dramatically under this Administration, yet the remedial cleanup budget is losing millions again this year causing the backlog to grow even larger," he said.
Dingell added, "If nothing else, the President is consistent when it comes to the EPA budget. His assault on important environmental programs continues with the lowest funding request for EPA in eight years. The President's FY09 Budget request would starve many EPA programs that are vital to protecting the environment and the public health."