EPA Releases 2020 Budget Proposal Focused On Health
The proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides $6.1 billion to support the agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. The budget proposal maintains EPA’s focus on its core mission – providing Americans with clean air, land and water and ensuring chemical safety. In addition, this budget provides critical water infrastructure investments for communities across America.
“This commonsense budget proposal would support the agency as it continues to work with states, tribes and local governments to protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I am proud of the tremendous progress that EPA and its partners have made in cleaning our nation’s air, water and land, and I am looking forward to continuing this progress through FY 2020.”
Highlights of the fiscal year 2020 budget proposal include:
• Support for Healthier Schools: Approximately 50 million American children spend their time in K-12 school facilities every day. Many of these buildings are old and contain environmental hazards that could pose a risk to children’s health. To address this issue, the budget proposes establishing a $50 million grant program to assist communities in identifying and resolving these hazards. Activities supported by this grant program will result in safer and healthier school environments for American children.
• Strengthening Protections from Toxic Chemicals: The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended, requires EPA to evaluate whether existing chemicals may pose unreasonable risks and, if so, take immediate steps to protect human health and the environment. EPA must also affirm that new chemicals entering the market are safe and that appropriate measures are taken to address risks. In FY 2020, this work will accelerate as the agency reaches statutory deadlines to complete the first set of risk evaluations for existing chemicals and begins the next phase of work. The budget provides $66.4 million for the Chemical Risk Review and Reduction program to support these efforts, which will supplement fees paid by chemical manufacturers and processors.
• Investments in Water Infrastructure: The budget funds water infrastructure through the State Revolving Funds, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) credit program, and the recently authorized America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). The FY 2020 capitalization of the State Revolving Funds would supplement approximately $80 billion currently revolving at the state level. Credit subsidy funding for WIFIA will continue the program’s momentum by potentially supporting more than $2 billion in direct loans, which when combined with other funding sources, could spur more than $4 billion in total water infrastructure investment. Additionally, the budget proposes funds for AWIA grant programs that will assist in lead testing and drinking water fountain replacement in schools, sewer overflow control, and water infrastructure workforce investment. These resources would complement state and local drinking water and wastewater infrastructure investments as well as funding provided through other federal sources.
• Regulatory and Permitting Reforms: The budget provides resources to ensure EPA can advance priority areas, including reviewing and revising regulations, improving the permitting process, and enhancing collaboration with state, tribal and federal partners. For example, several significant rulemakings are expected to be completed before 2020, including replacement rules for Waters of the United States and the 2015 Clean Power Plan. In FY 2020, EPA is committed to implementing these rulemakings by providing technical assistance and guidance to states, tribes and regulated entities as they adapt to these changes.
• Optimizing Clean-Up Efforts at the Nation’s Most Complex Hazardous Waste Sites: The budget provides $1 billion for the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account. EPA has made significant progress identifying impediments to clean-up at sites with significant exposure risks and developing action plans to overcome those impediments. EPA is also working with prospective purchasers, developers and responsible parties to bring more private funding for redevelopment, saving taxpayer dollars for the sites that truly need federal funding. Reducing exposure to hazardous substances and revitalizing contaminated land for use by the community is a priority and a fundamental part of EPA’s core mission.
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