Obama Budget Proposal a Big Net Plus for Environment

February 13, 2012
Contact: 

NEWS RELEASE

Contact:
Sean Crowley, 202-550-6524-c, scrowley@edf.org
Elgie Holstein, (703) 241-2776, eholstein@edf.org

Washington, DC — Feb 13, 2012) Environmental Defense Fund praised President Obama’s congressional budget request that would provide funding for sustainable fisheries and shift some of the $4 billion a year in subsidies for oil and gas companies to invest in clean technology in Fiscal Year 2013. However, EDF lamented the fact that the president’s budget proposes cutting funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by $105 million and Farm Bill conservation programs by about $600 million in FY 2013.

“Despite some flaws, the president’s budget is a big net plus for the environment, and we urge Congress to embrace the positive aspects of it,” said Elgie Holstein, senior director for strategic planning at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and a former associate director of the Office of Management and Budget for Natural Resources, Energy and Science.

“The fact is: clean energy and responsible environmental policy make good economic policy as well because they create jobs, while cutting energy and medical bills for American families,” said Jim Marston, vice president of EDF’s Energy Program. “Look at it this way: environmental conservation is cheaper than environmental cleanup, just like preventive medicine is cheaper than emergency room treatment. We applaud the President’s support of job-creating, clean energy programs.”

“We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that important fishery management functions have adequate funding and fishermen have all the tools they need, including sustainable market programs such as catch shares,” said John Mimikakis, associate vice president of EDF’s Ocean Program.

Good news:

  • $27.2 billion for the Department of Energy, a 3.2 percent increase over what Congress enacted last year:
    • $2.3 billion would go towards research and development for energy efficiency, advanced vehicles and biofuels.
    • $522 million increase in renewable energy sources and an additional $174 million for a revamped industrial technology-advanced manufacturing program.
    • $12 million would go towards multi-year research investments in safer natural gas infrastructure in order to reduce risks associated with hydraulic fracturing in shale formations.
      • Pipeline safety would receive a 70 percent, or $64 million, increase.
  • Approximately $1 billion for energy conservation efforts in the Department of Defense (DOD), which is the world's largest energy consumer.
    • DOD is increasing its commitment to renewable energy, which now makes up 8.5 percent of its energy production and procurement.
  • $174 million for sustainable fisheries work by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which supports the science and management needed to support the commercial fishing industry that supports 1 million jobs and yields more than $32 billion in income every year.
  • $28 million for the National Catch Share Program, a critical part of the nation’s strategy to return its fisheries to abundance, the same level adopted by the Congress last year.

Bad news:

  • Counterproductive cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency
    • The fiscal 2013 budget seeks $8.3 billion, which is $105 million below the current funding level for the agency.
    • If Congress approves the proposal, it would be the first time since 1994 that the agency’s budget was cut for three consecutive years.
  • Counterproductive cuts to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service
    • The fiscal 2013 budget seeks to cut funding for Farm Bill conservation programs by about $600 million.
    • Congress already has cut conservation funding by $2.8 billion over the last five years (FY 2008-2012), representing 81 percent of the nearly $3.5 billion in Farm Bill spending cuts during that time period.

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