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FY 2002 Agency Budget, Washington, D.C.

Remarks of Governor Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
regarding the
FY 2002 Agency Budget
Washington, D.C.

April 9, 2001

Good morning. When I was governor of New Jersey, every year I had to deliver an Annual Budget Address, that usually lasted about 40 minutes long. I hope you have plenty of paper.

I think the most important thing to remember when looking at any budget, is that a budget is not just a collection of numbers – it’s really a policy document.

The way in which an agency’s budget is crafted – the spending levels it sets – reflects that agency’s policy priorities.

By that measure, the President’s FY 2002 budget for the EPA reflects this Administration’s commitment to build partnerships across America to make our air cleaner, our water purer, and our land better protected.

This $7.3 billion budget – a $56 million increase over last year’s budget request – provides the funds this Agency needs to carry out its mission efficiently and effectively.

It will allow us to meet our mission while also building new partnerships for progress – partnerships that will draw on and enhance the environmental experience and expertise that is being developed every day in America’s communities.

About half of our proposed budget -- $3.3 billion – consists of grants for states, tribes, and other EPA partners – as the chart shows, that’s half-a-billion dollars more than what was requested for these grants in FY 2001.

Included is a new $25 million program of state grants – money the states will be able use to enhance and improve their enforcement efforts in accord with their local priorities.

Since the states often know best how and where they need to bolster their enforcement efforts, this budget gives them flexibility to use these funds in the ways they think will produce the best results.

In some cases, that will mean prosecution. In others, it will mean compliance assistance. But no matter which course is chosen, it will produce the best possible result in each individual situation.

We are also including another $25 million for a second state grant program – this one will help states improve their environmental information systems.

This program builds on the work in this area already underway in several states.

When it comes to cleaning the environment, information is power – the power to make the right decisions to achieve the best results.

Through this information partnership, we will be able to produce more accurate and useful environment assessments.

This will produce better decision-making, superior quality public information, an easier to meet regulatory reporting system, and standardized business practices.

Taken together, this will make it easier to achieve our goals of a cleaner environment for our families and their future.

To continue to ensure an abundant supply of safe, clean water in every American community, this budget invests $2.1 billion in grants to states for water infrastructure needs.

This includes $850 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, $823 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and $450 million to support the new Sewer Overflow Control Grants program.

The Sewer Overflow Control Grants will help address America’s largest remaining wastewater problem by supporting the planning, design, and construction of treatments for Combined Sewer and Sanitary Sewer Overflows.

This is good news indeed for every community that now has to deal with the messy results that can follow a period of heavy rainfall.

Consistent with our commitment to work as partners with those we serve, the President’s budget increases resources available for local brownfields rehabilitation.

This budget includes $97.7 million to support community-based efforts to assess, cleanup, and redeveloped abandoned properties.

These funds will help turn abandoned environmental eyesores into community assets all across America.

This budget also provides steady or increased levels of support for EPA’s most important ongoing programs, so that we can maintain their momentum in FY 2002.

For example, we continue funding for Energy Star, which successfully promotes energy efficient practices and products in homes, schools, and businesses across America.

Funding is also continued for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles – our 10-year research and development program to develop new technology for a safe, practical, affordable mid-size family sedan that achieves 85 miles-per-gallon with low emissions.

The funding for programs such as these reflect the President’s commitment to environmental priorities.

I’m am also pleased to announce that the President has included a 30 percent increase over last year’s funding to allow us to address the issues of fairness in the EPA workplace that were identified last year and to improve our efforts to ensure environmental justice.

As administrator, I am proud of this budget – proud of what it promises for the future health of America’s environment.

I want to express my thanks to Office of the Chief Financial Officer. The staff there has worked very hard to produce a budget that meets the President’s priorities, both of better stewardship of our environment and of taxpayers’ dollars.

And while OCFO took the lead, I know that countless others in our program and other offices really put their best effort into crafting this excellent budget, so I want to thank them too.

Everyone at EPA has really made my transition as smooth and as easy as possible, and I appreciate it very much.

When I was named to this job, I said my main goal was to ensure that when I leave, America’s air is cleaner, water purer, and land better protected than it was when I arrived.

With this budget, we are off to an excellent start.

Thank you. I would be happy to take a few questions.