By Patrick Ambrosio
The White House released its fiscal year 2014 budget April 10, requesting $686.2 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's chemical safety and pollution prevention activities.
The request for EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention represents an increase of $24.9 million, or 3.8 percent, in funding compared with the fiscal 2012 enacted level.
The budget would provide $62.7 million in funding for chemical risk review and reduction activities, an increase of $6.2 million compared with fiscal 2012. Programs intended to protect human health from pesticide risk would receive $61.8 million in fiscal 2014 under the president's request, an increase of $300,000 from fiscal 2012, while EPA would receive $6.9 million to continue work on the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program.
Overall, the fiscal 2014 budget includes $8.2 billion in total funding for EPA, a decrease of $296 million, or 3.5 percent, from fiscal 2012. The budget would cut funding for state water infrastructure grants and the superfund program, while boosting funding for state air grants, water pollution control programs, and watershed restoration projects (see related story).
The president's budget proposal would actually represent an even larger increase for chemical safety and pollution prevention when compared with current 2013 funding because the total request contains sufficient deficit reduction over the next 10 years to avoid the automatic sequestration cuts that took effect for fiscal 2013.
EPA, in a document summarizing the budget request, said the increased funding would allow the agency to “sustain its success in managing the potential risks of new chemicals entering commerce without impacting progress in assessing and ensuring the safety of existing chemicals.”
EPA said the additional chemical risk review funding will be targeted toward work on risk assessments of additional chemicals listed in the Toxic Substances Control Act work plan and on increasing progress on the review of existing TSCA confidential business information.
The agency said it expects to complete final risk assessments in fiscal 2014 for three TSCA work plan chemicals, while making further progress on the risk assessments for 18 additional chemicals.
Additionally, the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention will continue to implement a chemicals risk management program targeting high-risk “legacy” chemicals and will continue work on the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. The agency expects to finalize validation of the Tier 2 tests for endocrine disruptors, which aim to identify chemicals that interfere with the estrogen, androgen, or thyroid hormone systems, and to review data from the initial list of pesticides that underwent preliminary screening to determine if the substances warrant further testing for endocrine effects.
EPA also plans to continue its transition away from traditional testing through efforts to validate computational toxicology and high throughput screening methods to allow for a faster, more efficient, more cost-effective program.
The EPA budget proposal includes a total of $60 million, spread across different programs, to support a new E-Enterprise initiative.
The agency would use the funding to develop a web-based portal that would allow regulated entities to apply for permits, check their compliance status, report air emissions, and learn of new regulations.
EPA said the E-Enterprise initiative would reduce the paperwork and regulatory reporting burden while giving industry, the government, and the public better information on environmental issues.
The agency's chemical safety and pesticide programs each would receive $600,000 in funding to implement E-Enterprise under the president's budget request.
The EPA section of President Obama's fiscal 2014 budget request summary is available at http://op.bna.com/env.nsf/r?Open=fwhe-96mt6q.
A more detailed summary of EPA funding prepared by the agency is available at http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/fy2014bib.pdf.