EPA Gives to Toxics With One Hand What It Takes From Climate

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By Pat Rizzuto

Climate change’s loss at the EPA has been a boon to its chemicals work, which has been the recipient of funds previously earmarked for greenhouse gases.

A Fiscal Year 2017 Operating Plan memo David Bloom, the Environmental Protection Agency’s acting chief financial officer, issued May 17 says the agency made an “adjustment” to the Consolidated Appropriations Act that Trump signed into law May 5. The adjustment was designed to support the agency’s efforts to meet deadlines in the Toxic Substances Control Act amendments of 2016. The allocation “was offset in the Climate Protection Program reflecting reduced activity,” EPA said.

The memo comes as the Trump administration prepares to release May 23 its full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, which see further reductions to the EPA’s climate change efforts. The proposed budget would cut the EPA’s funding by approximately 30 percent and eliminate $100 million annually in climate change programs.

It would also eliminate an annual $500 million U.S. payment to a UN fund and other climate change expenditures spread across the State Department, Treasury Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Pruitt Backs Chemicals Law

Unlike climate change, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said that overseeing toxic substances is “absolutely” among the agency’s priorities. Shifting the funds from the climate change program to implementing the updated Toxic Substance Control Act would follow those priorities.

The EPA declined May 22 to elaborate on the amount of money, staff or both for fiscal year 2017 that it has provided the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, which is implementing the amended TSCA.

The additional funds are, however, part of the $49.1 million it is spending in fiscal year 2017 for analytical and other work not related to paying staff in its Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, which regulated both pesticides and chemicals.

That compares to a fiscal year 2016 nonpay budget of 47.79 million. The Office of Air and Radiation, which addressed climate change and other air issues, will receive $164.1 million for activities other than staff in fiscal year 2017. That compares to $176.85 million in fiscal year 2016.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at prizzuto@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Connolly at PConnolly@bna.com

For More Information

The May 17 memo is available at http://src.bna.com/o5h.

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