President Obama’s environmental agenda, under political attack and on the back burner in a sluggish economy, will face budget cuts for the third straight year.
The proposed Environmental Protection Agency budget for fiscal year 2013 is $8.3 billion, down from $9 billion last year. This year’s request represents a 1.2 percent decrease, or $105 million, from the 2012 enacted level.
Tellingly, EPA’s budget barely acknowledges the agency’s plans to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants – a stark reversal from last year’s budget, which said EPA’s “measured, common-sense steps to address greenhouse-gas pollution” was one of its “funding points of focus.”
Instead, this year’s budget says the administration “continues to support greenhouse-gas emissions reduction in the U.S. in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.” Those have been the goals for addressing climate change since the beginning of the Obama administration, but no legislation has been enacted requiring the reductions to be achieved.
The only mention EPA's greenhouse-gas rules for power plants receives in this year's budget is one sentence that doesn't say anything about when the rules are coming: "EPA will continue to develop regulatory strategies to control GHG emissions from major stationary sources."