GOP lawmaker looks to merge Energy and EPA

Proposal's aim is to reduce duplicate programs. Proposal's aim is to reduce duplicate programs. Alex Brandon/AP

Two federal agencies could become one if a lawmaker gets her way.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., is introducing legislation in the House this week that would combine the Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency into a single agency called the Energy and the Environment Department.

The proposed bill, an expanded House companion to one introduced in 2011 in the Senate by Sen. Richard, Burr, R-N.C., has the aim of reducing duplicate programs in both departments. In a statement Friday, Blackburn tied her bill to a recent Government Accountability Office report that outlined billions of dollars in duplicate or overlapping federal services.

“If we are going to put America back on the right path to prosperity, we need to cut the fat in Washington and get rid of excessive regulations that are stifling the ability of our nation’s small businesses to grow and create jobs,” Blackburn stated. She added the consolidation would save the federal government more than $3 billion “next year alone.”

President Obama requested $27.2 billion in discretionary funds for Energy in his fiscal 2013, a 3.2 percent increase over fiscal 2012’s enacted budget. He sought $8.3 billion for EPA, a 1.2 percent decrease from the fiscal 2012 enacted level of funding.

EPA would not comment on pending legislation. Energy did not respond to requests for comment.

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