Date sent: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 03:19:15 EST Send reply to: Environmental Studies Discussion List
Subject: EPA cuts EPA Funding Bill Has Significant Cuts in Operating Programs, Deputy Chief Says. Daily Environment Report, October 29, 1998, ppAA-2-2. The FY 1999 budget for EPA's media programs - air, water, toxic substances and wastes - will be "squeezed mercilessly," according to acting EPA deputy administrator Peter Robertson. The programs will suffer a "general reduction" of about $160 million due to the details of the funding bill that was signed by the President last week. This year, Congress made a number of specifications as to which programs should be funded and at what levels, and also what reductions should be made. Robertson called Congress "savvier" than it was in past years in the way that it specified the funding. By increasing EPA's overall funding by $200 million, it is difficult to complain about the cuts that will have to be made. Robertson said that EPA suffered because its funding is included along with the funding for the Veterans Administration, and "Congress is incapable of cutting veterans programs." He said that EPA also suffered because it was an election year, and EPA received cuts because other areas of the appropriations bill were loaded with election-year pork. Robertson said that EPA will protect "our most valuable resources," which are staff salaries and necessities such as rent payments. Then the agency would preserve the President's environmental priorities before beginning to make the cuts. Robertson said that the agency may choose to do away with some programs entirely, rather than making deep cuts to many programs. EPA's Office of the Chief Financial Officer will be issuing a "strawman" plan today that will be distributed to all agency offices. Each office will be asked to identify areas that could be cut. A final plan is due to Congress by November 20.
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