Jackson says EPA is back on the job

The Obama administration today proposed a budget of $10.5 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the largest in the agency’s 39-year history. The increase of $3 billion from 2008 funding levels will further ensure the protection of public health and the environment for all Americans.

“The president’s budget proposes critical resources to protect the American people and the places where they live, work and play,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We are no longer faced with the false choice of a strong economy or a clean environment. The president’s budget shows that making critical and responsible investments in protecting the health and environment of all Americans will also lead to a more vibrant and stable economy. With these proposed resources, and the president’s strong environmental agenda, it should be overwhelmingly clear that EPA is back on the job.”

Last week, President Obama announced the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes $7.22 billion for EPA-administered projects and programs to protect human health and the environment.

Some key highlights of 2010 budget initiatives include:
• $3.9 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund grants to support approximately 1,000 clean water projects and 700 drinking water projects – this year’s largest single investment. In addition to the funds recently invested through the ARRA, this funding is a critical step in addressing the water infrastructure needs in thousands of communities across the country. EPA will work with state and local partners to develop a sustainability policy, including management and pricing, conservation, security and a plan for adequate long-term state and municipal funding for future capital needs.
• A new $475 million, multi-agency Great Lakes Initiative to protect the world’s largest fresh water resource. EPA will coordinate with federal partners, states, tribes, localities and other entities to protect, maintain and restore the chemical, biological and physical integrity of the lakes. EPA and its partners will address invasive species, non-point source pollution, habitat restoration, contaminated sediment and other critical issues.
• A $19 million increase for the greenhouse gas emissions inventory and related activities that will provide data critical for implementing a comprehensive climate change bill. EPA’s funding for climate change investments is the foundation for working with key stakeholders and Congress to develop an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions approximately 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.
• Strengthening EPA’s core research, enforcement and regulatory capabilities. The budget request also proposes reinstating the Superfund excise taxes that expired. Reinstating the Superfund taxes would collect over $1 billion annually to fund the cleanup of the nation’s most contaminated sites.
The economic recovery plan signed by President Obama will create 3 to 4 million quality, sustainable jobs with many protecting our country’s public health and our environment.

“Through the President’s stimulus package, green initiatives will play a significant role in powering economic recovery,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA’s portion of the plan will create good, sustainable jobs that help produce cleaner drinking water, purer air, environmentally friendly urban and rural re-development, and reduced greenhouse gases. This is a perfect example of economic growth and environmental protection working hand in hand to the benefit of all Americans.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 specifically includes $7.22 billion for projects and programs administered by EPA. These programs will protect and promote both green jobs and a healthier environment. These environmental areas include:
• Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $4 billion for assistance to help communities with water quality and wastewater infrastructure needs and $2 billion for drinking water infrastructure needs. A portion of the funding will be targeted toward green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency, and environmentally innovative projects.
• Brownfields: $100 million for competitive grants to evaluate and clean up former industrial and commercial sites.
• Diesel Emissions Reduction: $300 million for grants and loans to help regional, state and local governments, tribal agencies, and non-profit organizations with projects that reduce diesel emissions.
• Superfund Hazardous Waste Cleanup: $600 million for the cleanup of hazardous sites.
• Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: $200 million for cleanup of petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks.

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