February 2, 2010
This post is the third in a series of commentaries by NSAC staff on the President’s 2011 budget, released on February 1st. To read the overview by Executive Director Aimee Witteman click here. Look out in the following days for more budget analysis on research programs, conservation, rural programs and more.
The proposed EPA budget for FY 2011 includes $17 million in new funding for a Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) to respond to non-point source pollution control, including nutrient pollution from agriculture.
This effort would happen in conjunction with the new USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service MRBI. An EPA press release noted that the Mississippi River Basin funding is in response to a report of the nationwide Nutrients Innovation Task Group and the recommendations outlined in the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia Action Plan, both of which call for greater control of nutrient pollution from agricultural sources.
The budget request also proposes to increase funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration from $50 million to $63 million. Most of the Chesapeake Bay funding will be use to implement a comprehensive, multi-state total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Bay which targets control of nutrient runoff from urban stormwater and agricultural fields.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included $6 billion in supplemental funds to the states for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure improvements. With this funding boost, the Administration is requesting a decrease of $100,000 in the Clean Water Act’s State Revolving Loan Funds, requesting $2 billion, and the same decrease in the State Drinking Water Loan Funds leaving $1.3 billion. The State Revolving Loan Funds can be used for nonpoint pollution projects, including those that target agriculture. EPA is developing a new approach for using the State Drinking Water Loan Fund to improve small water systems, many of which are in rural areas.
For the Clean Water Act Section 319 program, the President is requesting $200.9 million, the same level as FY2010 funding. The program funds grants to states, territories and tribes for projects to reduce polluted runoff. The budget request includes an additional $45 million for Section 106 grants which are intended to strengthen the state, interstate and tribal programs that address emerging water quality issues such as nutrients and new regulatory requirements, and support expanded water monitoring and enforcement efforts.
The budget request clearly signals President Obama’s strong support for EPA’s measures to deal with climate change, including regulation of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. The request includes $169 million targeted to measures to reduce GHG emissions, a slight increase over the FY2010 level. The request also includes $56 million, with $43.5 million in new funding, for EPA GHG regulation. The funds would be used by EPA to develop guidance on GHG permitting for state and local governments in anticipation of work on GHG Clean Air Act permits.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment
How will the EPA Mississippi basin initiative work with the NRCS project? Will EPA have a grants program to support solutions to non-point source pollution from agriculture in the basin?