The Bush budget provides $28.7 billion in discretionary funding for environmental and natural resource programs for Fiscal Year 2008, which is $1.7 billion below the level provided for Fiscal Year 2007 in the long-term Continuing Resolution (2007 CR) passed by the House. Among many other cuts, the Bush budget proposal would reduce funding for clean water, public lands, oceans, climate research, energy efficiency and conservation, and energy cost assistance for low-income Americans. At the same time, the budget does not repeal lucrative subsidies for oil and gas companies.
Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental protection. Spending for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be cut by $509 million, from $7.7 billion in the 2007 CR to $7.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2008.
Clean water. Funding to improve water quality would be cut by $400 million, from $1.9 billion in the 2007 CR to $1.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2008. The Clean Water Act state revolving fund, which provides important funding to states for wastewater treatment facilities and water quality enhancement projects, would be cut by $396 million, from $1.1 billion in the 2007 CR to $687.6 million in Fiscal Year 2008. The fund’s budget has been cut by nearly half, $642 million, since 2001.
Superfund. Overall funding for Superfund would decrease by $7 million from the 2007 CR level. The Administration’s budget would clean up only 30 sites, down from an average of 87 sites a year cleaned up during the Clinton Administration. The Bush Administration also projects that it will only clean up 24 sites in 2007, not 40 sites as it projected in the Fiscal Year 2007 budget request. In addition, taxpayers–not polluters–would be required to pay for administering the toxic waste clean-up program.
Brownfields. The Bush budget proposes $162 million for the Brownfields program. The request includes $49.5 million in grants to states and tribes. Brownfields are real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Brownfields program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields.
Environmental justice. The Bush budget proposes $4.579 million for environmental justice, a cut of nearly $1 million from the Fiscal Year 2006 appropriated level.
Climate programs. The Bush budget proposes $117.9 million for EPA’s climate change programs. The budget would include $101 million for the Climate Protection Program. The President also proposes to cut the EPA’s science and technology budget for climate protection by about $5 million, from $18.64 million appropriated in 2006 to $13.1 million in Fiscal Year 2008.
Department of the Interior
Department of the Interior. The Bush budget for the Department of the Interior proposes a cut of $267 million, from $10.877 billion in the 2007 CR to $10.61 billion in Fiscal Year 2008.
Land and Water Conservation Fund. During the presidential campaign in 2000, President Bush pledged to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), but for the seventh year in a row he has failed to keep his promise. The Bush Administration is proposing only $59 million for the LWCF, including no funding for state assistance. This is $86 million below the 2007 CR level.
Hazardous fuel reduction. The Bush budget would provide $202.8 million for hazardous fuel reduction programs through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is $5.3 million below the 2006 appropriated level. This funding is critical to protecting homes and communities from wildfires.
Wildland fire management. BLM wildland fire management would be funded at $801.8 million, an increase of $47 million above the 2007 CR level. The Bush budget eliminates funding for the rural fire assistance program in the Department of the Interior, which helps reduce the risk of damage resulting from catastrophic wildfires and supports rural fire departments. President Bush would also eliminate the state and local fire assistance program, which supports cost-shared grants to local and rural fire protection districts that protect small communities.
National parks. As part of its National Parks Centennial Initiative, the Bush Administration proposed to increase funding for the Park Service to $2.365 billion, an increase of $35 million over the 2007 CR level. The budget proposes cutting $116 million from construction and maintenance programs, from $318 million in the 2007 CR to $202 million in Fiscal Year 2008. During the presidential campaign in 2000, President Bush promised to invest $4.9 billion to eliminate the maintenance backlog in the national parks. The maintenance backlog is now estimated to be significantly larger than it was in 2000.
Urban parks. The Urban Park and Recreation program, which provides grants to low-income inner cities for the renovation of urban park and recreation facilities, would be eliminated.
Fish and wildlife. President Bush proposes to cut $5.5 million from the endangered species recovery program. The Bush budget would increase funding by $12.3 million for the National Wildlife Refuge System, from $382.5 million appropriated in 2006 to $394.8 million in Fiscal Year 2008.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Bush budget includes funding for environmental assesments as a first step toward authorizing oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The budget assumes that Congress will open up the Arctic Refuge for oil and gas drilling, and that lease sales in 2009 will raise $8 billion in revenue through 2012. For the last seven years, Congress has rejected this request.
Department of Agriculture
Forest Service. The Forest Service budget would be cut by $177 million, from $4.304 billion in the 2007 CR to $4.127 billion in Fiscal Year 2008. Within the Forest Service budget, the fire management program would decrease by $155 million, from $1.715 billion to $1.56 billion; state and private forestry programs would be cut by $89 million, from $358 million to $269 million; and the capital maintenance and infrastructure improvement program would be cut by $9 million, from $432 million to $423 million in Fiscal Year 2008. The Bush budget also proposes to sell $800 million of National Forest lands to pay down the deficit.
Conservation. The Bush budget contains a $157 million placeholder for conservation programs (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, and the Farmland Protection Program) pending reauthorization of the Farm Bill. These programs received $152 million in 2006. The budget would eliminate the Grasslands Reserve Program.
Rural energy. The Bush budget would eliminate high energy cost grants at a time when farmers are struggling to cover skyrocketing energy costs.
Department of Energy
Department of Energy. Spending for the Department of Energy (DOE) would be relatively flat at $24.3 billion in Fiscal Year 2008. Environmental management programs would be cut, and energy resources programs would be increased slightly. The overall amount of the request for energy efficiency, renewables, and energy conservation ($1.24 billion) is nearly the same amount appropriated in Fiscal Year 2001 for the same purposes.
The 2007 CR would provide $1.5 billion in funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The DOE will report to Congress within 30 days of enactment to detail the allocation of those funds. Because program-level allocations have not been settled for Fiscal Year 2007, funding level comparisons for these programs are made to 2006 appropriated levels.
Science and technology. The Bush budget proposes $4.4 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, an increase of $602 million over the 2007 CR.
Renewable energy. DOE renewable energy programs would be increased by $131 million over 2006 appropriated levels, including a $60 million increase for hydrogen, a $65 million increase for solar, a $1.24 million increase for wind, and a $88.6 million increase for biomass and biorefinery systems. Funding for hydropower and geothermal would be eliminated. The budget would not extend the Production Tax Credit or the Solar Investment Tax Credit beyond their current expiration date in 2008.
Energy efficiency. DOE energy efficiency and conservation programs would be cut by $112 million. Funding for building technologies would increase by $18 million, but funding would be cut for weatherization and intergovernmental activities, industrial technologies, and federal energy management.
Vehicle technology. DOE vehicle technologies research and development would be cut by $2.3 million, from $178.4 million appropriated in 2006 to $176.1 million in Fiscal Year 2008.
Weatherization. Weatherization assistance for low-income families struggling with high home heating bills would be cut by $98.5 million, from $242 million in 2006 to $144 million in Fiscal Year 2008. The budget also proposes to eliminate the Gateway Deployment program, which helps transition new technology to the market.
State assistance. State energy program grants and state energy activities would be increased by $9.9 million, from $35.6 million appropriated in 2006 to $45.5 million in Fiscal Year 2008. However, the amount of funding available through competitive grants would be only $10 million. States use grants to address their energy priorities and program funding to adopt emerging renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
Federal energy management. The Federal Energy Management Program would be cut by $2.17 million from 2006 appropriated levels to $16.8 million in Fiscal Year 2008. This year’s request is nearly the lowest ever, even as federal energy use has increased by nearly 14 percent since President Bush took office. The federal government is the largest energy consumer in the United States.
Electricity reliability. Funding for research and development of electricity delivery and energy reliability would be cut by 35 percent or $46.5 million from 2006 appropriated levels, to $86 million in Fiscal Year 2008.
Fossil energy. The fossil energy research and development program would be cut by $25 million, from $592 million in the 2007 CR to $566 million in Fiscal Year 2008. Within this account, funding for oil and gas research would be eliminated; funding for FutureGen would increase sixfold compared to 2006 appropriated funding, from $17.3 million to $108 million; and funding for coal research would be cut by $55.7 million, from $301 million appropriated in 2006 to $245 million in Fiscal Year 2008.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The Bush budget would more than double funding for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increasing funding from $164.3 million in the 2007 CR to $332 million. $168 million is reserved for expansion of the SPR.
Energy Information Administration. Funding for the Energy Information Administration would be increased by $15 million, from $90 million in the 2007 CR to $105.3 million in Fiscal Year 2008.
LIHEAP. The Bush budget requests $1.782 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a $420 million cut from what is needed to maintain LIHEAP funding at the 2007 CR level adjusted for inflation. Since 2001, home heating costs have increased by 59 percent while the Bush budget requests have not kept pace.
Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers budget would be cut by $458 million, from $5.33 billion in the 2007 CR to $4.87 billion in Fiscal Year 2008. The President’s budget proposes six high priority construction projects, focuses on completing ongoing projects, and would increase recreation user fees.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Spending for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would be cut by $142 million, from $3.954 billion in the 2007 CR to $3.812 billion in Fiscal Year 2008. Compared to 2006 appropriated levels, NOAA cuts include the National Ocean Service ($82 million cut); the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research program ($14 million cut); and the National Marine Fisheries Service ($106 million cut). The Bush budget would provide $980 million for Procurement, Acquisition, and Construction, which would be a cut of $116 million below the 2007 CR.