FY 2011 Environmental Protection Agency Appropriations (1/13/11)

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Funding for the EPA is allocated to a number of environmental monitoring, compliance and research programs in the areas of clean water, clean air, land preservation, ecosystem restoration, and cleanup of hazardous substances. For more background information on the EPA, visit the AGI Federal Agencies policy page.

For analysis of hearings held by the House and the Senate on EPA appropriations, click here.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Environmental Protection Agency Appropriations Process


FY10 Enacted

House Action

Senate Action
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (total)
Science and Technology
--Air Toxics and Quality

--Climate Protection Program

--Clean Air Research

(Global Change Research)

--Clean Water Research
Environmental Programs and Management
--Air Toxics and Quality
--Climate Protection Program

(Energy STAR)


(Methane to Markets)


(GHG Reporting Registry)

--Water: Ecosystems
--Water Quality Protection
Hazardous Substances Superfund
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks
State and Tribal Assistance Grants
--Clean Water State Revolving Funds
--Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds
--Brownfields Projects
*Neither House nor Senate appropriations bills concerning the EPA were passed in the 111th Congress, and a continuing resolution has kept budgets at FY 2010 levels through March 2011.

 Continuing Resolution Holds 2011 Budget at 2010 Levels

Congress passed the Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 3082) and the President signed the measure into law on December 21, 2010. The measure keeps the federal government operating at 2010 funding levels until March 4, 2011. Discretionary spending would be about $1.16 billion more than 2010 levels, with most of the increase for the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration (related to the implementation of the ratified START Treaty). The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (formerly the Minerals Management Service) will receive an additional $23 million for increased oil rig inspections in the Gulf of Mexico, but the increase is offset by a rescission of unobligated balances. Federal civilian employee salaries will be frozen for two years under the continuing resolution.

The 112th Congress will need to consider the FY 2011 budget as soon as the new session begins on January 5 and will need to balance their considerations with appropriations for FY 2012. Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner has suggested that discretionary spending for FY2011 be cut by about $100 billion to FY 2008 levels, however, many legislators have publicly stated that such cuts are unlikely to gain passage.

The Senate had initiated FY 2011 omnibus appropriations with a target of $1.108 trillion for total spending as proposed by the McCain-McCaskill cap amendment. This level was $29 billion below the President's FY 2011 budget request. Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies would have received about $58 billion ($6.4 billion less than FY 2010), Energy and Water Development would have received $34.5 billion ($1.05 billion less than FY 2010) and Interior, Environment and Related Agencies would have reeceived $32.2 billion (equal to FY 2010). The omnibus negotiations template may serve as a blueprint for any potential omnibus for FY 2011 appropriations in the 112th Congress. A full year continuing resolution for FY 2011 is also a strong possibility.

President's Request


House Action


The House of Representatives considers funding for the EPA within the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Chaired by Representative Moran (D-VA), other members include Representatives Dicks (D-WA), Mollohan (D-WV), Chandler (D-KY), Hinchey (D-NY), McCollum (D-MN), Olver (D-MA), Obey (D-WI) (ex officio), Simpson (R-ID), Calvert (R-CA), LaTourette (R-OH), Cole (R-OK), and Lewis (R-CA) (ex officio).

Senate Action

The Senate considers funding for the EPA in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Chaired by Senator Feinstein (D-CA), other members include Senators Byrd (D-WV) (ex officio), Leahy (D-VT), Dorgan (D-ND), Mikulski (D-MD), Kohl (D-WI), Johnson (D-SD, Reed (D-RI), Nelson (D-NE), Tester (D-MT), Ranking Member Alexander (R-TN), Cochran (R-MS) (ex officio), Bennett (R-UT), Gregg (R-NH), Murkowski (R-AK), and Collins (R-ME).

Conference Committee Action

Appropriations Hearings

  • February 23, 2010: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing on the President’s Proposed EPA Budget for FY2010

Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Hearing on the President’s Proposed EPA Budget for FY2010
February 23, 2010 

The Honorable Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency

Committee Members Present
Barbara Boxer, Chairwoman (D-CA)
James M. Inhofe, Ranking Member (R-OK)
Thomas R. Carper (D-DE)
Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Bernard Sanders (I-VT)
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
David Vitter (R-LA)
John Barrasso (R-WY)
Christopher S. Bond (R-MO)

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget was the subject of the hearing; however, the debate focused heavily on the science of climate change and the ramifications of the “Climategate” emails on climate change policy. Climategate refers to a series of stolen personal emails from East Anglia University’s Climate Research Unit (CRU), released to the public in November 2009. Since the CRU data was utilized by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC), opponents of climate change argue the emails cast doubt on the scientific integrity of climate change. However advocates for climate change argue that the remarks made in the emails were just expressions of frustration in a private forum, and represent an egregious professional mistake. Since this topic was so controversial, several senators were allotted time for opening statements.

Chairwoman Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) opening statement commended the EPA on its proposed funds for developing clean water infrastructure and children’s health, but she expressed concern over superfund and air quality issues directly related to California. Her argument supporting climate change science began by acknowledging that “budgets are usually good indicators of priorities.” She suggested the recent Supreme Court decision on the EPA’s endangerment findings showed federal and judicial recognition of the need to address climate change. She expressed frustration that the only place discussion about climate change policy was stifled was in the Senate. Sharing statistics from the National Academies of Science (NAS), U.S. Global Change Research Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), she argued that climate change is a real phenomenon and likely due to anthropogenic influences. Adoption of comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies, and development of clean and renewable energy, she argued, will create millions of jobs and keep the U.S. competitive.

James Inhofe (R-OK), a dissenter in the debate on climate change science and therefore policy actions, maintained that climate change was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of the United States. In his opinion, Climategate has exposed a plot by scientists to “manipulate data to fit preconceived notions, obstruct freedom of information and dissemination of data and collude to pressure journal editors against publishing data contrary to their own.” Inhofe argued the scandal surrounding East Anglia’s CRU team jeopardized the integrity of the U.N. IPCC report, a report the EPA relied on for the endangerment finding. He argued serious folly in the EPA’s “wholesale” acceptance of the IPCC’s findings, suggesting that the endangerment finding and current FY2011 budget proposal be scrapped. He continued by stating the proposed budget was the most economically destructive regulatory initiative in U.S. history. He announced that a minority report (pdf) on Climategate was now available.

Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) applauded the administration’s decision to invest federal funds in climate change programs. Thomas Carper (D-DE) cited the AAAS statement that “global warming is happening and is caused by human activity.” as a reason to support federal efforts in climate change mitigation at the EPA. Carper thought the proposal to use more nuclear energy was a good move. He also argued, and Christopher Bond (R-MO) agreed, that “in a country with more natural gas reserves than oil in Saudi Arabia” it makes sense to use U.S. natural gas resources. David Vitter (R-LA), felt Climategate showed the uncertainty of the science was “beyond dispute” and he argued the administration could no longer proceed with climate change policy, “ignoring [Climategate] like it never happened.”

Tom Udall (D-NM) reminded the committee that 2 of 4 models used in the IPCC report were generated at the supercomputing center at Los Alamos, “the same computers which monitor the security of the U.S. nuclear stockpile.” Udall, returning to the matter of the hearing, expressed gratitude that a “small but significant” $3 billion was proposed for updating rural water infrastructure. Feeling that the U.S. was on the brink of a clean energy industrial revolution, Udall felt the investments proposed by the EPA for climate change policies were warranted.

Before really getting into the Climategate debate, Cardin queried Jackson on the proposed funds for water infrastructure development and the $6 billion awarded to the EPA by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Jackson responded that 100 percent of states passed the EPA regulations for clean water, and the funding will help to maintain this data and improve regions needing further development.

Bernard Sanders (I-VT) was disgusted with U.S. senators who ignored “basic science” and found it “incredible that in the year 2010 there were people on the Environmental and Public Works (EPW) Committee saying that global warming wasn’t happening.” Sanders argued that climate science was backed by “an almost unified scientific community” and shared climate change statistics and official statements from organizations like NAS and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sanders even shared the official climate change statement from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Inhofe’s home state, which said climate change was happening and was likely influenced by anthropogenic forces.

Sanders went on to say there is an overwhelming “yes” among scientists about climate change and that sometimes people make mistakes, including people at East Anglia and even members of the EPW committee. He felt it was a mistake that the U.S. was not acknowledging climate change, making it the “laughing stock of the world” and urged real discussion about climate change policy. Speaking to Jackson he concluded with, “Keep up the good work, our children and grandchildren depend on your work.”

Jackson began by stating it was the EPA’s goal to “move beyond compliance to become partners in protecting natural resources, managing materials more wisely, reducing GHG  emissions, and improving the environment and public health.” The budget requests a $43 million increase to mitigate climate change by developing new regulations and technologies, $21 million to help with GHG reporting, and $3.1 for carbon capture and sequestration efforts. $60 million was requested to expand air quality regulations. Brownfields cleanup and redevelopment would receive $215 million, an increase of $42 million, and $1.3 billion would go towards Superfund cleanup.
Senator Boxer stated, “The only uncertainty about climate change comes from our Republican members.” She also noted that democratic and independent members only cited American scientists for their statistics, rather than international IPCC scientists.

Inhofe asked if Jackson still believed the IPCC findings, despite erroneous data and statements on topics like estimates of melting of Himalayan glaciers. She responded, “The information on the glaciers and other topics you [Inhofe] cite does not impact the information used for the endangerment finding.” She stated that the EPA has reviewed the pertinent IPCC science and she agrees with it, noting that she and Inhofe will probably never see eye-to-eye.

Barrasso asked if Jackson had seen a Science and Public Policy Institute report (pdf) stating global surface temperature averages were intentionally skewed to higher values because NOAA scientists removed cooler temperatures from higher latitudes to achieve this finding. She was confident her colleagues at NOAA and NASA had heard of this report, although may not have responded to it yet. She did state it was her duty, as the EPA Administrator, to make sure the science used in the endangerment finding was still valid, and the EPA would be reviewing this document.

Sanders cited an editorial from the Washington Post stating that “few reputable scientists” who would disagree on climate change, but politicians are focusing on the trivial mistakes and blowing the mistakes out of proportion, making scientists appear, “obtuse or dishonest.” Sanders then went on to say that during the 1930’s, when Nazism and Fascism were rising, some political leaders abated fears by saying these movements were not real. Others, like Churchill and Roosevelt, saw danger from day one. Sanders stated that “the longer we have this senseless debate, the more unprepared we are.” Sanders and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) were concerned about the impacts of interstate pollution. Jackson assured them that EPA Interstate Pollution regulations were a high priority.

Boxer stated that the majority of the endangerment finding had come from the Bush Administration and had Jackson elaborate. Jackson responded that most of the endangerment finding draft existed before she started, but the science in that draft was subsequently updated and revised. Jackson added, it was “incumbent to constantly be looking at the science as it evolves, because science changes. But, as someone said earlier, you have to look at the mountain of evidence that the climate is changing, and there are man-made causes.”

Inhofe stated that despite hearing “the science is settled,” the IPCC’s Dr. Phil Jones said he “doesn’t believe the vast majority of climate scientists believe the debate is over.” He went further to say the number of reports referred to in the IPCC worked on by CRU overwhelmingly discredited any findings from the IPCC. Jackson responded that she disagreed the IPCC had been discredited in any way, although she did not defend their conduct. She argued the IPCC findings had been found independently of the CRU. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said to Jackson, “Hold firm to the science…hold on for the judgment of history.”

Boxer concluded that the debate is shifting from one where international scientists are under attack to one where America’s most respected administrations, institutions and scientific member societies are up against a conservative blitz. She wondered aloud, “Who’s side are we on?” saying personally, she was taking the side of her American scientists and colleagues.


Sources: EPA website, hearing testimony, EPA budget briefings

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Contributed by Linda Rowan and Corina Cerovski-Darriau, AGI Government Affairs Staff; and Maureen Moses, 2010 AGI/AAPG Spring Intern.

Last updated January 13, 2011