April 11, 2013
Despite proposing significant cuts to the overall Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget for water programs, the President’s FY 2014 Budget Request for EPA emphasizes that EPA will continue to work with USDA and the states tribes to control nutrient pollution. The budget request gives special attention to the issue of excessive nitrogen and phosphorus loadings that contribute to hypoxic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. EPA plans to continue work with the Hypoxia Task Force, the states within the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basins, and other federal agencies, to support nutrient reduction strategies that address point and nonpoint sources contributing nitrogen and phosphorus loading to the Gulf, as well as watershed plans that provide a road map for addressing nonpoint sources. An important piece of this work is coordination with USDA to support monitoring of best management practices and water quality improvement through reduction of nutrient loading from agricultural sources in targeted watersheds and tributaries within the Mississippi Basin.
EPA will have fewer resources to undertake this and other work to improve the nation’s water quality. Overall, the FY 2014 budget request asks for $8.2 billion for EPA, 3.5 percent less than the $8.5 billion enacted in FY 2012. Of that funding, $3.1 billion is requested for EPA water programs. This is $500 million less than the FY2012 funding.
The budget request targets the Drinking Water and Clean Water state revolving funds, which provide states with funding to improve their water programs. These funds would be cut by $472 million to $1.9 million, down from $2.4 billion in FY 2012. EPA’s water quality program for beaches, which got $10 million in 2012, is zeroed out in the budget request.
The budget request does ask for an increase of $15 million in the Clean Water Act Section 106 Program that provides grants to states, tribes, and interstate agencies to address phosphorus and nitrogen water pollution. EPA also plans to continue work with USDA and the states to combine resources such as the Clean Water Act Section 319 program and USDA conservation programs and resources to address nutrient and sediment pollution problems in key watersheds throughout the U.S. EPA will also continue work with the states to provide technical guidance and resources to help states develop water quality criteria for nutrients.
To read more about the President’s budget and impact for sustainable agriculture programs, click here.
Categories: Budget and Appropriations