President Trump released his proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Budget, which includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The President’s Budget provides $6.658 billion to support the agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. The Budget maintains the Administration’s focus on EPA’s core mission – providing Americans with clean air, land and water, and ensuring chemical safety, while targeting emerging domestic and global environmental challenges. The FY 2021 Budget coincides with EPA’s 50th anniversary, which will be officially celebrated on December 2, 2020.
“For fifty years, EPA employees and our many partners have worked together to fulfill the agency’s mission to protect human health and the environment. Today, Americans enjoy cleaner land, air and water than ever before,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under President Trump’s leadership, I am certain that we will inspire the next generation of environmental leaders to continue building on our progress for the next 50 years.”
Highlights of the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget include:
- Protecting Children’s Health: EPA’s Budget will prioritize protecting the most vulnerable among us: our children. Approximately 50 million American children spend their time in K-12 school facilities every day. Many of these buildings are old and contain environmental hazards that could pose a risk to children’s health. The Budget proposes establishing a $50 million flexible grant program to identify and address risks to children where they learn and grow.
- Reducing Lead Exposure: EPA is committed to aggressively addressing lead issues across America by working with communities and partners to further identify and reduce lead exposure. EPA is leading this effort on multiple fronts, including important regulatory actions and targeting resources to the most vulnerable communities. Resources are requested to reduce childhood lead exposure and associated health impacts through the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure. The plan details specific actions to target lead-based paint, lead in drinking water, and lead-contaminated soil, among other sources. The Budget includes an additional $45 million to support the Lead Exposure Reduction Initiative, a cross-media effort to reduce lead exposure, particularly in children.
- Investments in Water Infrastructure: The Budget supports strategic investments in infrastructure repair, replacement and modernization by providing funding to states, municipalities, and private entities to finance high-priority infrastructure investments. The Budget includes $1.98 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) and provides approximately $82 million to support America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (AWIA) programs. Additionally, $25 million is requested for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, which could potentially provide up to $2 billion in direct credit assistance, and, when combined with other funding sources, could spur over an estimated $4 billion in total infrastructure investment. Together, these resources leverage state and local drinking water and wastewater infrastructure investments as well as funding provided through private sources.
- Reinvesting in American Communities: EPA’s cleanup programs, including Superfund and brownfields, return formerly contaminated sites to productive use, promoting redevelopment of blighted areas and protecting human health and the environment. The Budget dedicates over $1 billion to revitalize American land and prevent future contamination. Within this amount, $18 million is set aside within the Brownfields Projects program to support projects in qualified Opportunity Zones, underscoring EPA’s commitment to implementing the Opportunity Zone provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and leveraging investment in economically distressed communities.
- Taking Action on PFAS: The Budget supports EPA’s aggressive implementation of the Per- and Polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS) Action Plan—EPA’s first multi-media, multi-program, national research, management and risk communication plan to address this class of emerging chemicals. Risk communication is one of the most important parts of the EPA’s work with communities, stakeholders, and regulatory partners to build trust, often leading to better decisions. In FY 2021, EPA will develop analytical methods, toxicity values, and additional treatment and remediation options that will help states and communities address PFAS exposures. EPA requests an additional $6 million with 5.0 FTE to support this focus area.
- Improving Recycling, Food Waste, and Marine Litter Outcomes: To help reach the Nation’s goal of reducing food loss and waste by 50 percent by the year 2030, the Budget directs resources to support communities in improving the sustainable management of food. Resources also will be used to conduct a needs assessment of the U.S. recycling industry to inform future work, support grant programs, and encourage the use of recycled materials in manufacturing through a pilot incentive program. This Budget will also advance U.S. environmental policies and positions to address international marine litter.
- Reducing Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs): The FY 2021 Budget proposes an additional $22.4 million with 5.5 FTE to address and reduce Harmful Algal Blooms that pose significant health or economic risks to American communities. The program will provide data standards and geo-referencing expertise for EPA’s research, predictive modeling and monitoring tools and analyses, and policy approaches to target and reduce nutrient pollution that causes HABs and impacts water quality across the country.
- Reducing Regulatory Overreach: EPA is focused on providing certainty to the American people, our co-regulators, and the regulated community. The Agency will continue to place an emphasis on reducing unnecessary or duplicative burden to the regulated community and streamline operations that save money to the American taxpayer. In FY 2021, this effort will be advanced through implementation of the President’s Management Agenda and through common sense deregulatory actions that provide greater certainty and better communication to our partners.