25 September 2000 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Funding for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in fiscal year 2001 would be left generally intact at this year's $7.5 billion spending level under a bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Although the amount exceeds the $7.2 billion the House of Representatives approved for the agency in its version of the bill in June, EPA administrator Carol Browner said the Senate measure would still impose significant reductions in core programs.
"We are disappointed that the Senate committee voted against fully funding important public health and environmental protections recommended by the President," Ms. Browner said in a statement.
"These numbers fall short of the amount necessary to address the challenge of global warming through the administration's climate change technology initiative and would delay the cleanup of toxic waste sites that are being restored at a record pace," Ms. Browner added.
However, Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on independent agencies, said that lawmakers' priorities are different from the agency's, noting that EPA "seems to [more] value augmenting its bureaucracy and boutique programs."
The bill funds EPA's science and technology accounts about even with this year at $670 million and provides $1.4 billion for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites under Superfund, the same amount appropriated for the program in fiscal 2000.
The legislation would boost spending for EPA's operating programs by $125 million to about $2 billion, but that figure is still short of the administration's request.
In a rush to move the remaining spending bills to the Senate floor quickly--the new fiscal year begins October 1--the committee did not amend the EPA funding measure. However, various riders will probably be offered when the bill is considered on the Senate floor.
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said he may propose an amendment that would require EPA to issue a notice of intent to cancel a registration of a pesticide after two years if it is not offered for sale in the US.
Sen. Dorgan said EPA spends about $80,000 per chemical to register many agricultural chemicals that are exported, but not sold domestically. Some are imported back into the US and sold at a higher price even though taxpayers paid the cost of registering them, he said.
In addition, Senator Larry Craig (R-Ida.) has drafted an amendment that would prohibit EPA from revoking a tolerance--maximum residue limit on food--for a pesticide that has been voluntarily canceled "unless sufficient time has been provided to assure that affected foods" have moved through the channels of commerce, unless the agency determines that a threat to public health makes an earlier revocation necessary.
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