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FY 2001 Budget Presentation

02/07/2000
Carol M. Browner
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                               
                 Remarks Prepared for Delivery
                  FY 2001 Budget Presentation
                        Washington, D.C.
                        February 7, 2000
                               

  I am delighted to be here today to present the Clinton-Gore Administration's FY 2001 budget for the work of the Environmental Protection Agency, a $9.5 billion request that continues and strengthens the Administration's commitment to the environment and public health by providing our children, our communities with cleaner water, cleaner air and an improved quality of life.  

  Seven point three billion dollars of that amount is directly for operating programs, air and water infrastructure, and trust funds.  Two point two billion dollars is for the Better America Bonds program, to help communities invest in green-space preservation.  Most importantly, this budget includes the single largest increase in EPA's operating programs in the history of the Clinton/Gore Administration.  An increase of  11 percent, or $384 million for EPA's core environmental programs.

  Once again, the President is presenting a budget that maintains fiscal discipline while making essential investments in environmental priorities.  This Administration has repeatedly demonstrated that we can enjoy enormous prosperity -- including the longest economic expansion in history and a plan that will eliminate our national debt for the first time since 1835 -- while implementing important environmental and public health protections.

  The American people know -- and the Clinton-Gore Administration has proven -- that our Nation does not have to choose between a strong economy and a healthy environment.

  Over the past seven years of unprecedented economic progress, this Administration has distinguished itself through unprecedented environmental progress.
  • To clean up the Nation's waters, we have worked for and obtained a new Safe Drinking Water Act, and moved forward with the President's Clean Water Action Plan to make drinkable, fishable and swimmable water a reality for all Americans.
  • We have set the tightest standards ever for cars and first standards that are equally protective for SUV's and minivans.
  • We have placed special emphasis on protecting our Nation's greatest resource - our children - through actions like working for, winning and implementing the Food Quality Protection Act,  that for the first time puts emphasis on protecting the health of infants and children from pesticide risks.
  • We have provided communities with new access to more information about toxic chemicals released into their communities by greatly expanding the public's right-to-know.
  • Under this Administration, about three times as many toxic waste site cleanups have been completed than were completed in the previous 12 years of the Superfund program.  
  • And we have taken the unprecedented step of revitalizing communities by accelerating the cleanup of Brownfields and returning the land to productive use.    
     
   The budget we are announcing today preserves this record of success and builds on it.

   The Clinton-Gore budget request for  FY 2001 protects public health and the environment by ensuring that we will be able to provide America with cleaner water, cleaner air, better protection of children, more protection for individual communities and a continuing cleanup of toxic wastes and restoration of Brownfields.

  The Clinton-Gore Administration's budget protects the health and the environment of all Americans.  Last year, however, Congress "earmarked" from EPA's budget some $470 million for more than 320 special projects in individual congressional districts.  These earmarks take away huge amounts of money from the programs that provide cleaner air and water to the Nation as a whole.  That is why we are not carrying over last year's earmarks, and that is why we will continue to oppose earmarks this year.

  We also remain strongly opposed to any legislative riders designed to undermine our country's basic environmental laws.  Our goal is to work with Congress to provide real protections for Americans everywhere.  That is what the Clinton-Gore Administration's budget accomplishes.

  As it has since the inception of the Clinton-Gore Administration, the EPA budget builds
upon those core environmental programs that are the backbone of this agency.  This includes: setting environmental standards; environmental enforcement and compliance; and direct implementation programs for the states.

  In FY 2001, the Clinton-Gore Administration is requesting an eleven percent, or $384 million, increase over last year in its operating programs to allow the Agency to meet the American public's expectations for a safe and healthy environment.  The increased money in the operating budget is directed at programs for cleaner air and water, safer food and improved science.

  For water, the President's FY 2001 budget bolsters the successes we have achieved by providing $495 million in Clean Water state grants, including a $50 million increase to specifically address polluted runoff, the largest current threat to our Nation's water quality.

  The Great Lakes, among our Nation's most revered and beautiful water resources, receive $50 million in the President's Budget for a new initiative that will continue the progress we have made in their cleanup and restoration.  Through this initiative, states and communities will be eligible for funds to improve water quality through stormwater pollution control, wetlands restoration and remediation of contaminated sediment.
 
  We are stepping up our efforts to identify and restore polluted waterways by providing an additional $45 million in state grants for the Administration's new Cleaner Waters Across America program.  The program is aimed at waterways still in need of improvements.  Resources will be used to develop specific restoration plans for some 20,000 waterways across the Nation.

  Consistent with our goal to provide sufficient capital to localities, the President's Budget provides $800 million for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund - a flexible funding mechanism designed to help communities provide clean, safe and healthy water.  This year, states will have the option of using 19 percent of their Clean Water SRF in the form of grants to fight polluted runoff.  I am asking Congress to join us in providing states with this additional flexibility to provide clean and safe water for the public.  

  The Administration has taken the most aggressive actions in history to provide cleaner, healthier air for all Americans, and this budget continues that effort.    

  The President's Budget is providing $85 million for the Clean Air Partnership Fund - a fund that will provide resources to states, cities and tribes to help reduce air pollution.  This initiative will foster public-private partnerships to help communities achieve their own clean air goals in ways that make the best sense for them.

  In addition, to continue reducing the air pollution that contributes to global warming,  $227 million has been proposed for the third year of the Climate Change Technology Initiative.  This program promotes voluntary measures that reduce energy use and bring down the energy bills of all Americans, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  Furthermore, to continue to strengthen our relationships with our state and tribal partners, this budget provides $215 million in state and tribal grants to help find solutions to air pollution.  Of these resources, $5 million will be granted to states and regional planning bodies specifically to combat the problem of regional haze - one of the most obvious effects of air pollution.

  The Administration remains dedicated to better children's health by providing $68 million for the Children's Health Initiative.  These funds go for critical programs that fight such threats as lead contamination and childhood asthma. We also are continuing our dedication to food safety through the Food Quality Protection Act by providing $75 million for its implementation so that all Americans will continue to enjoy one of the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supplies in the world.  

  The President's Budget continues expanding the public's right-to-know about toxic releases in their local communities through several initiatives.  One of those new efforts is a new environmental information system that will provide the public more critical environmental information than ever before.  Under this Initiative the Administration will provide $30 million to work with the states to provide one of the Nation's greatest sources of shared, key environmental information that will be made public over the Internet.

  To better protect America's communities, the Administration is proposing the Better America Bonds Initiative.  This Initiative will help communities grow in ways that ensure sustainable economic growth by providing them the resources they need to address local smart- growth challenges like protecting water sources and shrinking parklands.  Through this initiative, the Administration will provide the authority to issue $2.2 billion for investments by state, local, and tribal governments in 2001.

  This budget provides almost $1.45 billion to continue our progress in cleaning up the Nation's Superfund toxic waste sites.  In addition, to help communities return their abandoned or idled industrial properties to productive use, the President has committed $92 million for the extremely successful Brownfields redevelopment program.

  By providing our children and our communities with cleaner air, cleaner water and an improved quality of life, this budget maintains the Administration's dedication to the protection of public health and the environment.  It ensures that the Environmental Protection Agency will be aggressively adding to seven years of unprecedented environmental progress built under the Clinton-Gore Administration.