The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

April 10, 2013

Ag, education cuts, energy boosted: Agency by agency guide to Obama's 2014 budget

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The budget also includes $386 million — a $76 million increase over current spending — for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a program that seeks to research on new ways to generate, store and use energy.

___

Agency: Environmental Protection Agency

Total Spending: $8 billion

Percentage Change from 2013: 9 percent decrease

Discretionary Spending: $8.1 billion

Mandatory Spending: 0

Highlights:

Despite President Barack Obama's tough talk on addressing global warming, his budget for the agency with the biggest role in reducing the heat-trapping pollution contains few bold moves. In fact, Obama's fiscal 2014 budget request for the Environmental Protection Agency presents his fourth consecutive cut for the agency, a 9 percent reduction from 2013 levels.

On climate, the EPA will continue on the course it was on during Obama's first term: pushing for greater fuel savings so the nation uses less oil from cars, trucks and other mobile sources and supporting voluntary programs to boost energy efficiency. There's no mention of whether the EPA will control the gases blamed for global warming from coal-fired power plants, as it probably will be compelled to do by law. But the budget envisions a role for EPA in preparing communities for the unavoidable impacts of future climate change, by helping them prepare for extreme weather events linked to global warming.

The cleanup program for the nation's most hazardous waste sites gets a $67 million increase in the budget request, but that is compared to the deep cuts put in place by automatic spending cuts. It means that no new cleanups will start. But there will be enough money to deal with emergency releases from contaminated sites.

States will also see less federal money to help improve infrastructure and treatment plants for drinking water, meaning the focus will be on small, underserved communities.

The budget also suggests that the agency will beef up its regulation of pesticides, by developing methods to better detect and enforce limits for residues on food and by applying health-based standards to the registration of new pesticides.

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