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FY22 Budget Proposes $11.2B for EPA

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

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Last week, President Joe Biden submitted his budget request of $11.2 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, with emphasis on issues such as the environment, science and support of state and local programs.

“The FY 2022 President’s Budget proposes the investments needed to advance EPA’s mission across the board,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.

“The Budget boosts support to our state, local and Tribal partners, increases support for national treasures like the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, accelerates job-creating water infrastructure improvements, elevates environmental justice across the agency, increases support for science, and importantly, makes sure all EPA offices have the operational budgets and workforces they need to deliver for the American people.”

Regan’s office broke the FY22 budget down into six categories, including Rebuilding Infrastructure and Creating Jobs; Protecting Public Health; Tackling Climate Crisis with the Urgency Science Demands; Advancing Environmental Justice and Civil Rights; Supporting States, Tribes and Regional Offices; and Prioritizing Science and Enhancing the Workforce.

© iStock / Skyhobo

Last week, President Joe Biden submitted his budget request of $11.2 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, with emphasis on issues such as the environment, science and support of state and local programs.

Some key funding highlights are as follows:

  • $882 million is earmarked for the Superfund Remedial program to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated land, reduce emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases from existing and abandoned infrastructure, and respond to environmental emergencies, oil spills, and natural disasters. With this funding, the EPA says it would begin the cleanup of more than 20 National Priority List sites and accelerate work at more than 15 NPL sites with ongoing construction projects and allow for enhanced engagement at lead contaminated sites.
  • $40 million in increased funding for the Brownfields Projects Program will aim to stimulate economic development and promote environmental revitalization.
  • $80 million is slated to unlock more affordable credit to communities and create jobs by rebuilding and repairing our nation’s water infrastructure.
  • $15 million will be used to prepare water system operators for potential hacking threats.
  • $75 million will go to accelerate toxicity studies and fund research to inform the regulatory developments of designating PFAS as hazardous substances while setting enforceable limits for PFAS.
  • $15 million in increased funding and 87 full-time employees to build agency capacity in managing chemical safety and toxic substances under Toxic Substances Control Act.
  • $60 million in increased funding to help reduce pollution from diesel school buses and help protect the health of children in underserved communities.
  • $60 million to restore the Air, Climate and Energy Research Program.
  • $6.1 million and 14 full-time employees to implement the recently enacted American Innovation in Manufacturing Act and reduce potent greenhouse gases while supporting new manufacturing in the United States.
  • $9 million in increased funding for the Stratospheric Ozone Multilateral Fund.
  • $900 million in investments for environmental justice-related work, collectively known as EPA’s Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice Initiative, elevating environmental justice as a top priority across the Agency.
  • $150 million for new environmental justice grant programs that aim to implement solutions to environmental burdens.
  • $14 million directed to overhaul the External Civil Rights Compliance Program.
  • $100 million for the development of a new community monitoring and notification program in the Air Office that will monitor and provide real-time data to the public on environmental pollution, focusing on those communities with the greatest exposure to harmful levels of toxins.
  • $5.1 billion (nearly half of the total budget), will support states, Tribes, and localities through the State and Tribal Assistance Grants account. Within this amount, $1.2 billion in Categorical Grants will help EPA partners operate their environmental programs. This includes nearly $322 million for State and Local Air Quality Management and $21 million for Tribal Air Quality Management. The water State Revolving Funds aim to ensure clean and safe water for communities across the nation, and in FY 2022 the Budget proposes $3.2 billion for the SRFs. The Budget increases every Geographic Water Program and includes $578 million to ensure restoration and sustainable use.

Lastly, the FY22 Budget requests an increase of 1,026 full-time employees.

“Within this increase are 114 FTE to propel and expand EPA’s research programs to ensure the agency has the science programs and communities demand from the EPA,” Regan’s office said.

“Also included are 86 additional FTE to support the criminal and civil enforcement programs to ensure environmental laws are followed. These investments are essential in guiding Agency policy making and regulatory action to ensure the safety of human health and the environment for years to come.”

More on PFAS

In addition to the many infrastructure-related implications in the FY22 Budget, of interest to the coatings community are the proposals surrounding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

In addition to the increase in funding proposed in the budget, Regan recently issued a memorandum to senior leadership calling for the creation of a new EPA Council on PFAS. The council’s mission is to build the agency’s work to better understand and reduce the risks caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Regan asked Radhika Fox, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Office of Water, and Deb Szaro, Acting Regional Administrator in Region 1, to convene and lead the EPA Council on PFAS, which will be comprised of senior EPA career officials from across the agency.

The goals of the council date back to a 2019 action plan that was never realized. Directives include:

  • Develop "PFAS 2021-2025 - Safeguarding America's Waters, Air and Land," a multi-year strategy to deliver critical public health protections to the American public. To develop the strategy, the ECP will review all ongoing actions, propose any necessary modifications, and identify new strategies and priorities. The ECP shall make initial recommendations within 100 days of its establishment.
  • Continue close interagency coordination on regional specific and cross-media issues to assist states, Tribes, and local communities faced with significant and complex PFAS challenges.
  • Work with all national program offices and regions to maximize the impact of EPA's funding and financing programs and leverage federal and state funds to support cleanup of PFAS pollution, particularly in underserved communities.
  • Expand engagement opportunities with federal, state, and tribal partners to ensure consistent communications, exchange information, and identify collaborative solutions.

Previous PFAS Work

Citing that same action plan, the EPA proposed regulations this time last year on important products that contain PFAS, such as coatings. At the time, the EPA said that, while it believes the use of these chemicals as surface coatings in imported goods has been phased out, this proposal would ensure that any new uses are reviewed by EPA before any products containing these chemicals could be imported into the United States again.

As part of the agency’s review, EPA has the authority to place restrictions on the import of products containing these chemicals as part of a surface coating.

The proposal clarifies the categories of products that would be covered under the significant new use rule. This clarification aligns the regulation with the Toxic Substances Control Act, according to the agency.

Prior to the 2019 action plan, the EPA held a summit in 2018 following the multiple spills of GenX at a Chemours plant in North Carolina. At that time in 2018, the EPA said that it considers PFAS to be “contaminants of emerging concern.”

The substances, which have been manufactured in the U.S. since the 1940s, remain and accumulate in the body and in the environment without breaking down, and the EPA has said that there is evidence that exposure to them “can lead to adverse human health effects.”

Studies have correlated elevated cholesterol rates with exposure to PFAS, and limited research has shown possible relationships between the substances and low infant birth weights, immune-system effects, cancer and thyroid hormone disruption, the agency said.

PFOA and PFOS (types of PFAS) were developed in the mid-20th century and have been studied somewhat extensively; replacement PFAS like GenX, on the other hand, have been developed more recently and are less understood.

   

Tagged categories: Budget; EPA; EPA; Funding; Good Technical Practice; Government; Health and safety; NA; North America; President Biden; Safety

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