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EPA Set for 16% Budget Cut

The budget for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be cut by 16 percent under the budget deal struck between Democrats and Republicans, it has emerged.

EPA funds would be reduced by about $1.6 billion, Bloomberg reported, based on legislation out this morning. That figure is about half of what Republicans initially proposed.

The agency took one of the largest hits in the budget proposals, the New York Times reported.  Cuts to the EPA amount to four percent of the total $38 billion reduction in federal spending.

More specifically, the agency’s Land and Water Conservation fund will have its budget reduced by 33 percent, the Times said. And the budget bill would cut climate change related programs by $49 million, or 13 percent, across all agencies.

The bill also reduces funds for food safety and inspection by $10 million, or one percent below the 2010 level of $1.01 billion.

Democrats and Republicans came to a tentative consensus on the budget shortly before 11 p.m. on Friday night, averting the government shutdown that was due to start just over an hour later. Democrats said that the agreement did not include Republicans’ sought-after provision to limit EPA regulations on greenhouse gases (GHGs).

But the agreement Friday was on broad terms, and details are just now emerging in the proposed legislation. The earliest this could come to a vote in the House is Thursday, Fox News reports.

The Times’ Politics & Policy blog said that dozens of big clean energy projects are in danger as Congress works out the final language for the spending bill. The Republican budget proposed back in February proposed deep cuts for the federal loan guarantee program for clean energy projects, signed into law by president George W. Bush.

In other energy legislation news, California governor Jerry Brown is scheduled today to sign the state’s latest renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to source 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, Platts reports. The California assembly voted in favor of the standard last month.

Picture: Troy Holden

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