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Budget

Environmentalists Blast EPA Proposed Research Spending Reduction

EPA proposed reductions in research spending are drawing sharp criticism from environmentalists -- who question how an administration that stresses "sound science" can justify the cuts. Overall, agency research spending would fall by about $100 million from 2004 levels, according to budget analysts.

At the same time, some cuts are prompting worry among agency staff as well.

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EPA Proposes Ending Research Funds For Building Cleanups Amid Ricin Scare

EPA is planning to eliminate research funding for developing technologies to clean up buildings contaminated by biological toxins or other dangerous pollutants resulting from a terrorist attack, according to the agency's fiscal year 2005 budget request. EPA created the program in the wake of the anthrax attacks in 2001 that contaminated several congressional office buildings, and was originally intended to last through fiscal year 2005.

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GOP Lawmaker Eyes Boost For OMB Evaluations Cited In EPA '05 Budget Cut

A House Republican lawmaker is preparing to push legislation that would boost the White House budget office's use of a controversial evaluation tool that the Bush administration is citing to justify cutting $22 million from EPA's fiscal year 2005 research budget.

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Senate Budget Chairman Outlines Plans To Reduce Costs Of Energy Bill

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles (R-OK) is outlining his plan to cut at least $11 billion off the cost of the comprehensive energy bill, while congressional Republicans and the White House have agreed to soon introduce a pared-down, less costly version of the bill, instead of breaking apart the bill and passing some of its provisions separately.

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Deficit May Aid Push By Environmentalists, Lawmakers To Cut Industry Subsidies

Soaring federal budget deficits may help environmentalists and their congressional allies curtail new subsidies for industry and funding for environmentally harmful construction projects, as concern about the expense and environmental danger of these programs appears to have gained traction following bipartisan efforts to stall the energy bill, according to environmentalists and balanced-budget advocates.

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Staff Fear Key Vacancies May Delay EPA Policies, Hinder Budget Efforts

EPA career officials say the Bush administration is unlikely to fill key political vacancies in the agency's water, toxics and enforcement offices before the elections and may delay some decisions and limit funding for some programs.

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EPA Inspector General Says Funding Gap Stalled Superfund Cleanups

A new report by EPA's inspector general (IG) says insufficient funding for the Superfund program in fiscal year 2003 constrained investigations of waste sites and prevented the agency from performing necessary emergency removal actions.

However, EPA and industry sources are challenging the report's methodology and say funding was adequate to take protective actions at sites.

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Administration Talks On Revised Dioxin Review Prompt EPA Budget Fears

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Bush administration are renegotiating a plan to review EPA's dioxin risk study after NAS officials late last year rejected an interagency plan for a broad, year-long review of the dioxin study. NAS officials say the earlier proposed review was under-funded and too broad to complete in the proposed timeframe.

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Senate Vote Sets Stage For EPA Funding Increases In FY04 Budget

The likely Senate approval of comprehensive fiscal year 2004 spending legislation as soon as this week would preserve hundreds of millions of dollars in increased spending for EPA's operating programs that would otherwise be lost, according to both congressional and agency sources.

While the Senate failed to pass the measure Jan. 20, Capitol Hill sources say Senate passage now appears increasingly likely amid waning Democratic interest in blocking the measure. The House passed the legislation last year and President Bush has indicated he will sign the bill.

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States To Offer Grants To Promote Priorities In Federal Policymaking

The Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), which represents the heads of state environment departments, has launched a new grants program that seeks to ensure that state priorities are recognized in the annual agreements they sign with EPA.

States often make environmental programs a priority in their annual planning documents but those priorities do not "see the light of day in the federal document," according to one state source. "That's the main complaint" with the state-EPA priority-setting and planning process, the source says.

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