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DOE Cuts Oil, Gas Extraction Research Funding Tagged 'Ineffective' By OMB

President Bush's budget request for fiscal year 2005 would cut funding for the Department of Energy's (DOE) key research initiatives for developing technologies to boost oil and natural gas production. While the initiatives' goals mirror the president's priorities for increasing U.S. energy independence, the White House budget office has ranked the research programs as "ineffective."

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EPA Renews Request For Increased Cleanup Funds Despite Past Congressional Denials

EPA has renewed a request to Congress for increased funding for both the Superfund and brownfields cleanup programs, a proposal that was rejected by lawmakers in appropriating current fiscal year spending.

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EPA Proposed Cuts In Water Funding Draws Criticism From States

EPA is proposing substantial cuts in funding for nonpoint sources of water pollution and sewage treatment infrastructure, while requesting $20 million in spending increases for monitoring to improve assessments about the nation's overall water quality, among other program increases.

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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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