THE DAILY FED
Clinton Wants EPA Budget BoostBy Steven Cook
The Clinton administration, in its FY98 budget proposal being forwarded to Capitol Hill Thursday, is planning to request an overall $800 million increase in spending for the EPA, according to figures obtained by CongressDaily.
The proposal, if enacted by Congress, would boost spending at the agency to about $7.6 billion in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The lion's share of the increase comes from $700 million in additional funding requested for Superfund hazardous waste sites under the terms of an initiative unveiled last year by President Clinton in Kalamazoo, Mich. The so-called Kalamazoo initiative called for the cleanup of two-thirds of the 1,380 waste sites on the Superfund's National Priorities List.
As part of the proposed Superfund increase, the pending budget request also will call for $75 million to help communities restore old Superfund "brownfield" sites to productive use, a request that is $39 million more than the amount spent for this purpose in the current fiscal year. Brownfields are unused contaminated sites formerly utilized for industrial and commercial purposes.
In addition, the administration will propose increasing funding for the core monitoring, permitting and enforcement functions at the EPA by roughly $200 million, to $3.3 billion. At the same time, funding for state revolving funds for financing drinking water and sewage treatment and other water quality projects would decrease about $100 million from the current level of $2.2 billion under the proposal. Congress last year enacted a state revolving fund for drinking water projects.