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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Appropriations for FY2013: Debate During the 112th Congress

Robert Esworthy
Coordinator, Specialist in Environmental Policy

David M. Bearden
Specialist in Environmental Policy 

Mary Tiemann
Specialist in Environmental Policy 

Claudia Copeland
Specialist in Resources and Environmental Policy 

James E. McCarthy
Specialist in Environmental Policy 

Jane A. Leggett
Specialist in Energy and Environmental Policy

Preceding the March 26, 2013, enactment of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 113-6), during the 113th Congress, the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013 (P.L. 112-175, H.J.Res. 117), enacted September 28, 2012, provided appropriations for federal departments and agencies—including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—funded under each of the regular appropriations bills through March 27, 2013. The continuing resolution provided funding generally at FY2012 levels with an across-the-board increase of 0.612% unless otherwise specified. Subsequent to the passage of the joint resolution in 112th Congress, the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies released a draft bill on September 25, 2012, that proposed $8.52 billion for EPA for FY2013. As reported July 10, 2012, by the House Committee on Appropriations, Title II of H.R. 6091, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Act, 2013, proposed $7.06 billion for EPA for FY2013. The proposed level was $1.28 billion (15.5%) below the President’s FY2013 request of $8.34 billion, and $1.39 billion (16.5%) below the FY2012 enacted appropriation of $8.45 billion.

The House committee-reported bill, H.R. 6091, would have decreased funding for seven of the eight EPA appropriations accounts compared to the President’s FY2013 request, and for six of the accounts relative to FY2012 enacted levels. The largest decrease in H.R. 6091 as reported was for the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) account: $2.60 billion for FY2013, compared to $3.36 billion requested (23% decrease) and $3.61 billion for FY2012 (28% decrease). This account consistently contains the largest portion of the agency’s funding among the eight accounts. The majority of the proposed decrease was attributed to a combined $507.0 million reduction in funding for grants that provide financial assistance to states to help capitalize Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRFs). Respectively, these funds finance local wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects. H.R. 6091 as reported included $689.0 million for Clean Water SRF capitalization grants and $829.0 million for Drinking Water SRF capitalization grants, compared to $1.18 billion and $850.0 million requested for FY2013, and $1.47 billion and $917.9 million appropriated for FY2012, respectively.

The STAG account also includes funds to support “categorical” grant programs. States and tribes use these grants to support the day-to-day implementation of environmental laws, such as monitoring, permitting and standard setting, training, and other pollution control and prevention activities, and these grants also assist multimedia projects. The $994.0 million total proposed for FY2013 for categorical grants in H.R. 6091 as reported was $208.4 million less than the $1.20 billion requested for FY2013, and $94.8 million below the $1.09 billion FY2012 enacted amount.

Other prominent issues receiving attention during the 112
th Congress within the context of FY2013 EPA appropriations included funding for implementing certain air pollution control requirements including greenhouse gas emission regulations, climate change research and related activities, cleanup of hazardous waste sites under the Superfund program, cleanup of sites that tend to be less hazardous (referred to as brownfields), and cleanup of petroleum from leaking underground tanks. Additionally, several recent and pending EPA regulatory actions continued to be controversial in the FY2013 appropriations. H.R. 6091 as reported included a number of provisions (similar to those considered in the FY2012 appropriations debate) that would have restricted the use of funding for the development, implementation, and enforcement of certain EPA actions that cut across the various pollution control statutes’ programs and initiatives. These provisions were not included in the September 28, 2012, FY2013 continuing resolution. .

Date of Report: September 24, 2013
Number of Pages: 60
Order Number: R42520
Price: $29.95

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