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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks on the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, As Prepared

05/07/2009
As prepared for delivery.

I’m pleased to be here to present our very first annual budget.

This budget comes at a defining moment for our country and our agency.

We continue to face significant economic challenges. At the same time, urgent human health and environmental issues demand our attention.

EPA’s new budget reflects the President’s commitment to growing a clean energy economy and protecting human health and the environment.

These investments reject the false choice of a green economy or a green environment, and position EPA to lead the way in green jobs, innovation and technology, and action on global climate change.

Expanding on the investments of the Recovery Act, this budget allows EPA to provide real solutions to our economic crisis.

It takes significant strides to ensure that our air, land, and water are safe and clean. And it significantly improves accountability and transparency, ensuring fiscal responsibility at a time when every dollar counts.

It’s a statement of strong support for EPA, and high expectations for the year ahead.

I know I speak for all of my colleagues at EPA when I say we welcome those expectations, and look forward to putting these investments to work for the American people.

That begins with refocusing and revitalizing our core priorities: protecting the air, land, and water in the places where people live, work, play and learn.

These investments create new jobs and lay the foundation for continued prosperity – making these communities cleaner, safer places where people want to live and businesses want to invest.

The budget provides $2.4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1.5 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund,

That will be used to maintain and improve outdated water infrastructure and keep our wastewater and drinking water clean and safe.

It will also help preserve and create jobs, spurring 1,000 clean water projects and 700 drinking water projects in communities across the nation.

We’re also increasing investment in five Water Security Initiative (WSI) pilot cooperative agreements to detect and respond to drinking water contamination threats.

We’re stepping up efforts on toxics – an area that is crucial to children’s health. The budget increases support to screen, assess and reduce chemical risks, and increases crucial funding for the air toxics school monitoring program.

We’re investing in Superfund and Brownfields programs that employ thousands of people across the country and restore properties for economic use.

$1.3 billion for Superfund will support post-construction activities and fund ongoing projects, while $175 million for Brownfields will continue to provide assessment, clean-up, and job-training grants.

Another important change is a proposal to re-instate the “Polluter pays” policy that expired in 1995. Beginning in FY 2011, a provision to hold polluters responsible should generate $1 billion a year and rise to $2 billion a year by 2019.

This budget also recognizes that monitoring, analysis and regulation will do little good without an increase in our community presence – our cops on the beat, so to speak.

We’re adding 30 more civil and criminal enforcement positions, including 12 positions to serve poor and low-income communities - not just to crack down, but to work with business and communities to prevent dangerous pollution.

To address the growing threat of climate change, the budget includes key investments in the Greenhouse Gas emissions inventory, including new analytical tools, upgraded testing capabilities, and coordination with other agencies on research and “green” initiatives.

Those will be used to develop environmentally and economically sound approaches to tracking and reducing harmful greenhouse emissions. We look forward to working with industry sectors to report high-quality Greenhouse Gas emissions data and ensure that we’re not burdening the nation’s small businesses and others.

To improve the effectiveness of all of these initiatives, the budget is also firmly focused on a return to the best science.

The President pledged in his Inaugural address to “restore science to its rightful place.” So we’re strengthening EPA’s vital scientific foundation with $842 million for analysis and cutting edge innovation.

That includes increased support for advanced research to protect communities from harmful chemicals; funding to cut the backlog of assessments in the Integrated Risk Information System; support for green, efficient water infrastructure; and greater biofuels sustainability analysis to guide our move to energy independence and low-emissions fuel.

On that point, we’ll also increase funding for the Ann Arbor laboratory to assess biofuel blends and new engines – crucial research to help manufacturers avert costly delays and testing.

The budget also focuses on stronger partnerships between EPA, states, localities and tribes.

A lot of tough decisions are being made right now in all of our state capitals. This budget dedicates $1.1 billion to State and Tribal Categorical Grants to fill gaps and provide critical assistance in these difficult times.

One signature initiative in that partnership is the President’s $475 million proposal for Great Lakes Restoration. Working together with Federal, state, Tribal, local and industry partners, we will protect, maintain and restore the chemical, biological and physical integrity of this great fresh water resource.

This is in keeping with our work on other vital priorities like the Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, and the Chesapeake Bay – all of which we remain committed to.

Finally, the budget includes extra measures of accountability. The President, the Congress, and most importantly, the people, demand that we manage our resources responsibly.

We will be increasing funding for the Inspector General’s office to monitor public dollars entrusted to us, and making our budget documents available to the public on the web, so that they can see, in detail, how we are re-investing in EPA’s mission.

Overall, this budget is designed to meet our most pressing economic and environmental needs.

We see remarkable opportunities to create green jobs. We see new growth in communities that are cleaner, healthier places to live, work and invest. And we see new innovations that will protect our planet for the generations to come.

EPA has been given extraordinary support, and a revitalized mission. We’re ready to get to work.

Thank you very much.