A steady rise in research funding at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the Obama Administration would come to an end in the FY 2012 budget, according to the Administration's request released today. But it could have been much worse: Environmental programs would be slashed to trim $1.3 billion from EPA's $9 billion budget.
The bulk of EPA's grants to states for projects to improve water quality would be cut by 27%, down to $2.5 billion. In contrast, EPA's Science and Technology account would see just a 2.5% cut from FY 2010 levels, trimming it to $826 million. The Science to Achieve Results  grants program for extramural research would see a $24.7 million boost.
"Our commitment to science remains as strong as on the first day of the Obama Administration," EPA chief Lisa Jackson said at a telephone press conference today. Still, she said the agency would look at ways to better integrate its research efforts. "Even our scientists can be more efficient," she said.
EPA researchers would need to knuckle down even more if House of Representatives Republicans get their way with the current budget. They would like to see EPA's S&T cut back to $791 million for FY 2011. Under the continuing resolution, EPA's budget remains for the moment at the FY 2010 level of $848 million.
Details about EPA's budget request (full pdf ) include:
- Requested STAR grant increases include resources for Hydraulic Fracturing ($4.2 million), Endocrine Disruptors ($7 million), Green Infrastructure ($6 million), and STAR fellowships ($6 million) in support of the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) government wide initiative.
- Also requests an additional $2 million for Computational Toxicology to speed development of next generation tools and facilitate implementation of the Agency's Endocrine Disruptor Screening program.
- Finally, a $2 million increase is requested to support the plan for a long-term review of EPA's laboratory network.
See our complete coverage  of Budget 2012.