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President Bush's 2005 budget provides $7.76 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a $133 million increase over the 2004 budget request. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt, joined by key Agency officials, announcing the budget at a Washington, D.C. news briefing today, expressed pleasure with the resources being provided to the Agency.
"With the President's budget, we can increase the velocity of environmental protection -- protecting our land, cleaning our air and cleansing our water -- efficiently, effectively and without impairing the economy," Leavitt said. "We are adopting better ways – facilitating collaboration, harnessing technology, creating market incentives – and we are committed to measuring progress, not process."
* To build on the progress in protecting children's health and the successful national partnership to reduce emissions from school buses, the President's budget provides an increase in funding, from $5 million to $65 million, for the Clean School Bus USA program.
* To ensure cleaner, safer water, the President's budget provides:
* $45 million for the Great Lakes Legacy Program, almost five times the 2004 level of $10 million, for sediment remediation located at as many as six sites, helping to keep toxics such as PCBs and heavy metals from entering the food chain, where they may cause adverse effects on human health and the environment;
* $25 million for the Targeted Watersheds Program, a $10 million – 67% increase over the 2004 Consolidated Appropriations legislation level, allowing for competitive grants to communities to implement watershed protection and restoration plans and funding a $10 million regional pilot program to help publicly-owned treatment works implement nonpoint source projects to comply with nutrient discharge limits in the Chesapeake Bay; and
* $20 million for a new water-quality monitoring initiative to provide $17 million in grants and $3 million in technical assistance to help States and Tribes develop and implement statistically representative water quality monitoring programs. This consistency across programs will eventually allow EPA to make a national determination of water quality and ensure resources target the highest priority problems.
* To ensure cleaner lands through waste site clean-ups and continuous monitoring, the President's budget provides:
* A total of $210 million for Brownfields cleanup, a $40 million – 24% increase over the 2004 Consolidated Appropriations legislation level. The funding includes an increase for grants and loans to fund clean up of lightly contaminated sites;
* $1.4 billion for the Superfund, a $124 million –10% increase over the 2004 Consolidated Appropriations legislation level. This increase reflects a 48 percent boost targeted for the Superfund's remedial program, which will allow for 8-12 additional construction starts in 2005 and for a similar number of additional completions by 2006. and
* A $26 million – 217% increase over the 2004 Consolidated Appropriations legislation level to strengthen EPA's partnership with the States to monitor underground storage tanks. Recognizing that States have primary responsibility for monitoring tanks, issuing permits and enforcing regulations, the additional grant money will provide funds for States to inspect a larger universe of federally regulated underground storage tanks on a more frequent basis as they continue to administer the Underground Storage Tank Program under delegated authority from EPA.
* To ensure strong and efficient regulatory, research and enforcement activities, and improved collaboration with states through grant programs, the President's budget provides:
* $4.4 billion — the highest level in EPA history — $33 million, or one percent, above the 2004 budget. The Operating Program consists of EPA's core regulatory, research and enforcement activities and state program grants; and
* $1.25 billion for EPA categorical State grants, the highest level in EPA history. This $84 million- 7% increase will provide additional resources to States and tribes to run their core environmental programs. Included within this total is a new $23 million State and Tribal Performance Fund which will award competitive grants for projects that can demonstrate environmental and public health outcomes.
"We are ready for the next big leap in productivity," Leavitt stated. "We've made enormous progress over the past thirty years, and this budget will enable the EPA to pursue even better ways to care for the environment and protect people's health."