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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

FY 2011 Budget Cuts


The $38 billion in budgets cuts approved by Congress and signed by President Obama include:

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

The measure would cut about 15 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency budget, weakening a program that provides money to states to reduce water pollution. Lawmakers in the House had sought to remove as much as 30 percent of the agency’s $9 billion budget, which would have been the largest cut in 30 years. But under the final bill, the EPA can move forward with plans to regulate greenhouse gas pollution at major power plants and other sources, and to enforce pollution restrictions affecting the Chesapeake Bay.

The EPA's 2011 budget would be reduced by 15% from 2010 spending, taking it to $8.7 billion. The EPA's budget rose to $10.3 billion in the 2010 fiscal year, after years in which its funding hovered between $7.5 billion and $7.7 billion.

THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

The budget deal would not make cuts in an Energy Department program that provides loan guarantees to renewable energy, electric power transmission systems and biofuels projects that begin construction by Sept. 30, 2011.

The Energy Department would be given an appropriation of $170 million to cover the credit subsidy that was previously covered by fees charged to the recipients of the loan guarantees.

There would be other “minor cuts,” including $140 million in research and development on fossil energy -- an area where the administration had already proposed cuts for fiscal year 2012. The deal is expected to cut $16.5 million from programs developing technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants and $6.3 million from nuclear energy programs. Science programs are also expected to be cut by $15 million.

THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

The Department of the Interior could soon be prohibited from enforcing rules that protect animals such as wolves. A plan to close millions of acres of western wilderness to development will likely be scrapped. A program that helps recover endangered species was slashed by $25 million, a 31 percent cut. And a wildlife grant that helps states manage at-risk species before they become endangered would be sliced by $28 million, also a 31 percent cut.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

The Women, Infants and Children program - which provides food and infant formula to low-income families- would receive $504 million less than it did last year. Funding to assist farmers and ranchers to develop conservation plans would be cut by more than $300 million. Rehabilitation programs for fragile watershed areas would be cut by $165 million and wetlands protection programs would lose $176 million.

Another $323 million would be cut from research programs that do everything from predict America’s consumption trends to develop alternative energy sources using agricultural by-products.

THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

The Department of Transportation would see a $2.9 billion decrease in funding. A spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration released the following statement:
Currently, the Federal Railroad Administration has $2 billion available for high-speed intercity passenger rail projects across America. The Obama Administration looks forward to working with states eager to build the foundation for a world-class rail network that will provide 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years. In FY 2010, Congress appropriated $2.5 billion for High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail. The six-month CR contains $0 for high-speed rail in 2011 and rescinds $400 million of the funding appropriated for the program in FY 2010. As a result, there is currently $2 billion in high-speed rail funding available, down from the $2.4 billion previously available. Last week, 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted 98 applications with funding requests totaling more than $10 billion.
The budget measure contains no funding for high-speed rail in 2011, and would rescind $400 million from the $2.4 billion previously available in 2010 funding. Last week, 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted 98 applications with fundingrequests totaling more than $10 billion. (Wash Post, 4/12/2011, WSJ, 4/13/2011)

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