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President Obama released on September 19 budget reduction recommendations for Congress’ Joint Select Committee that includes boosting fees that EPA collects through various program and more details about the establishment of a national infrastructure bank and other non-water related infrastructure spending proposals.  The budget reduction plan - Living Within Our Means and Investing In the Future - includes three EPA-specific efforts that are designed to save millions of dollars by increasing fees pesticide registrants must pay, lifting a cap on fees from chemical manufacturers seeking to market new chemicals, and establishing a Resource Conservation & Recovery Act hazardous waste electronic manifest system. The budget plan also promotes accelerating the permitting process for infrastructure projects. Significantly, the President’s budget savings plan does not propose further cuts to EPA’s discretionary spending. The House EPA appropriations bill proposes cutting the agency’s existing FY 2011funding from $8.6 billion, down from $7.1 billion for FY 2012.   

 

The Obama Administration is also proposing to reduce U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation program funding by $2 billion over 10 years by targeting cost-effective and environmentally-beneficial programs and practices to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners . Even under this proposal, conservation assistance is projected to be $60 billion over the next decade. The Administration also proposes to:

 

·         Eliminate unnecessary direct payments to farmers;

·         Modernize crop insurance program to reduce cost and improve efficiency;

·         Extend mandatory disaster assistance to strengthen safety net for farmers; and

·         Pursue balanced deficit reduction to prevent drastic cuts.