New GOP Spending Plan Takes Chainsaw to EPA

| Mon Feb. 14, 2011 2:40 PM EST

If last week's version of the GOP's temporary government-funding bill took a scalpel to the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency, the new version trims it with something more akin to a chainsaw.

The latest version of the seven-month spending plan (called a "continuing resolution," or a "CR" in Washington-speak) from House Republicans would hack $3 billion from the agency's budget—a 29 percent cut from 2010 levels and nearly twice the proposed cuts in the original plan. It would specifically bar the agency from using funds for the development and implementation of greenhouse gas regulations, and would cut funding for the EPA's Global Change program, which conducts research on climate change, by a third.

The new CR would also block the White House from filling the energy and climate adviser post that Carol Browner is vacating. (See ClimateWire for more on the specific cuts).

The National Wildlife Federation says the cuts amount to a "sneak attack" on existing environmental laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, because they would make it basically impossible for the EPA to do its job. The huge cut—the biggest in 30 years—"would jeopardize the water we drink and air we breathe, endangering the health and well-being of all Americans," Gene Karpinski, the president of the League of Conservation Voters, said Monday.

The GOP plan also includes major cuts to climate and renewable energy programs at the Department of Energy and the Department of Interior, as well as public transportation. Climate programs at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would also take a big hit. And it includes major reductions to international climate and environment programs—including a $500 million cut in funds that go to the World Bank for projects to cut emissions in developing countries and a two-thirds reduction in the funds the US contributes to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The full list of cuts is here, and the legislation is here.

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