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Release Date: 02/01/99
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Administrator Carol M. Browner today announced President Clinton’s proposed Fiscal Year 2000 budget of $7.2 billion for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The President’s budget protects public health and the environment and provides innovative financial tools and other programs to ensure healthy, strong communities across America for the 21st century.
“This budget continues into the 21st century the Clinton Administration’s commitment to protect public health and the environment,” said Browner. “It also is based on a simple truth that this Administration has proven repeatedly over the last six years: environmental protection and economic growth can go hand in hand. The President’s new budget includes several innovative programs that bring together communities and businesses in creative ways to leverage resources that build healthier communities and healthier local economies.”

New initiatives in the President’s proposal:

Better America Bonds. EPA will be in the forefront of supporting the President’s and the Vice President’s creative initiative to build livable American communities. This new, innovative, financial tool is aimed at helping communities address problems associated with urban sprawl – like traffic congestion, lost farmland, threatened water quality, shrinking parkland and abandoned industrial sites, or Brownfields. The Administration is proposing $700 million in tax credits over five years that will support $9.5 billion in bond authority for investments by state, local and tribal governments. These bonds will give local communities maximum flexibility and resources to address their most pressing environmental needs.

– Clean Air Partnership Fund. The President’s budget includes $200 million for a new Clean Air Partnership Fund – an initiative that is part of the Administration’s efforts to clean the nation’s air and meet the challenge of global warming. The Clean Air Partnership Fund will promote innovative technology to help communities nationwide reduce harmful air pollution and greenhouse gases. The Fund finances the creation of partnerships among local communities, states and tribes and the private sector and the federal government. These partnerships are designed to finance projects that are locally managed and self-supporting and enable communities to achieve their clean air goals sooner. The Fund will stimulate cost-effective pollution control strategies, spur technological innovation, and leverage substantial non-federal investment in improved air quality.

Fighting Childhood Asthma. EPA is taking a leadership role as part of an Administration-wide effort to address the growing problem of childhood asthma nationally. President Clinton has provided an additional $17.4 million, for a total of $22.2 million, to reduce children’s exposure to toxins in our environment that can exacerbate asthma. The money will implement an interagency initiative for education, outreach and air monitoring. An additional $12.3 million, for a total of $40.1 million, focuses on other chronic childhood afflictions, such as cancer and developmental disorders. EPA’s investment to protect children from environmental threats totals $62.3 million.

Other major environmental initiatives and on-going priorities:

– Implementing the Clean Water Action Plan. The President’s Clean Water Action Plan is finishing the job of cleaning up America’s waters. The President’s budget allocates $651 million in order to continue restoring our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters, as well as its restoration of watersheds across the country.

–Flexibility in Addressing Water Quality Problems. The President’s budget includes a proposal that will allow states greater flexibility to address their most pressing water quality problems – polluted runoff from city streets, suburban lawns and rural areas. The proposal will give states for the first time the option to set aside 20 percent of their FY 2000 Clean Water State Revolving Fund allotment for non-point source pollution projects, estuary management and other water quality projects.

–Financing Water Quality Infrastructure. The President’s budget provides for $1.625 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs that provide financial assistance for the construction of drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities. The budget will allow the Agency to meet and go beyond the commitment to its long-term capitalization goal for the SRFs to provide an average of $2.5 billion in annual financial assistance.

The Climate Change Technology Initiative. The President’s budget invests approximately $216 million at EPA and $1.8 billion government-wide to help reduce the pollution that causes global warming. This program will continue the Administration’s efforts to address the challenge of climate change through innovative, cost-effective partnerships with businesses, schools, states and local governments that voluntarily lower energy use – and energy bills, for everyone. The Climate Change Technology Initiative proposed by the President this year also offers tax credits for consumers who purchase fuel efficient cars, homes, appliances and other energy-efficient products. It also includes increased spending on research to develop new, cleaner technologies in areas like the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles and the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing.

–Cleaning up Waste Sites and Redeveloping Contaminated Lands. The President’s budget invests $1.5 billion in Superfund to continue cleanup of toxic waste sites. The Agency plans to complete clean up construction at 85 sites for a total of 755 construction completions by the end of 2000, with a target of 925 through 2002. The Budget also invests approximately $92 million in the clean up and redevelopment of abandoned industrial sites through our Brownfields Program, including $35 million for the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund which helps communities leverage funds for actual cleanup of brownfield sites.

–Advancing Citizens Right-to-Know and Improving Information. The President’s budget invests approximately $19.5 million, an increase of $13.5 million, in the Chemical-Right-to-Know program to further improve public access and strengthen citizen’s right-to-know about pollution in their communities. The President’s budget also provides $18 million for Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) to provide citizens with access to real-time information about the health of the air, land and water in their communities.

-Maintaining Sound Science. The President’s budget provides $681 million for a continued commitment to developing and applying the best available science for addressing current and future environmental hazards, as well as new approaches toward improving environmental protection. The Agency will focus its research efforts on areas such as Particulate Matter, Global Change, Mercury and the Coastal Research Initiative.

–Improving Air Quality and Reducing Urban Air Toxics. The Air Toxics program has been provided with almost $18 million in new funding, for a total of approximately $109 million, in addition to the Clean Air Partnership Fund. This program will have a significant focus in urban air toxics to develop tools and data that will allow the Agency to move the air toxics program from an almost exclusively technology based program to a risk-based program. It is geared to reduce risks for poor and minority groups more prevalent in urban areas, and will bring increased protection to a larger number of more sensitive populations, such as children and the elderly.

–Supporting U.S./Mexico Border Environmental Needs. The President’s budget provides $100 million, a $50 million increase, for projects along the U.S./Mexico Border. With these resources the Agency will provide direct grant assistance to address the environmental and public health problems associated with untreated industrial and municipal sewage on the border.

In the President’s FY2000 budget, EPA maintains its commitment to ongoing priorities, including: implementing food safety protections and strong drinking water standards.

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