EPA: Environment would get large increase

THURSDAY, FEB. 26, 2009

Available details of President Barack Obama’s proposed government spending for the 2010 budget year that begins on Oct. 1. A more extensive budget outline is expected in April. In most cases, the figures are for discretionary spending and do not include mandatory entitlement programs like Social Security. The percentage change is based on what Obama wants to spend next year compared with what he anticipates the government will spend in 2009 once Congress completes appropriations for this year.

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency

2010 proposal: $10.5 billion

Change from 2009 estimate: 34.6 percent increase

Highlights: Obama’s budget signaled that the environment is a priority by providing the biggest increase for the Environmental Protection Agency in eight years.

The proposal nearly triples — to $3.9 billion — funding for states, local governments and tribes. They can use the money to improve sewage treatment plants and drinking water systems and to protect drinking water sources. These programs already received $6 billion in the recently approved stimulus package.

The EPA budget also would provide families, communities and businesses billions to offset the higher energy prices expected if Congress passes legislation to control greenhouse gases.

Starting in 2012, the budget proposes to invest $15 billion a year in clean energy — money generated from auctioning permits to companies that emit the gases blamed for global warming. The rest of the climate cash will be returned to taxpayers.

But it is far from certain that legislation will pass this year.

In another move that could increase energy prices, the EPA budget calls for reinstating taxes on petroleum products, chemical feedstocks and crude oil to pay for cleaning the country’s most hazardous waste sites. These taxes expired in 1995. They would start up again in 2011 under Obama’s budget.

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