EPA Funding Assured till November
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has received a multi-week funding reprieve until Nov. 21, when its budget may again be threatened by a potential shutdown of the federal government.
President Donald Trump signed a seven-week continuing resolution into law at the end of last week, and after clearing the House of Representatives the measure was subsequently approved by the Senate in a vote of 82-15.
The president’s signature was needed before Oct. 1, the beginning of the US government’s 2020 fiscal year. The congressional resolution will fund several other government agencies at fiscal 2019 levels through Nov. 21, allowing lawmakers more time to debate several full-year appropriations bills.
Funding shortages at the end of a fiscal year have plagued the US government repeatedly over the past decade, with several shutdowns, some protracted, the result. Against the backdrop of the latest funding dispute, congressional wheels are turning to put the EPA’s financing on a sounder footing.
In the run-up to budget resolution for fiscal 2020, both the House and a Senate appropriations committee have already approved measures to fund the Interior Department, which has responsibility for environment and thus the EPA. The distribution of the monies still faces a full senate Vote.
The proposed funding package foresees approximately $9 billion for the EPA in fiscal 2020, an increase of $161 million over the fiscal 2019 level. This is slightly lower than the $9.6 billion proposed by the House’s Democratic majority, but well above the $6.1 billion budget request submitted by the Trump White House in March
Part of the package includes $20m in additional funding to help states pay for the needed cleanup of contamination of waterways with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under the EPA’s State and Tribal Assistance Grants program.