Environment Maryland responds to the President’s Budget

For Immediate Release

BALTIMORE – Today President Obama announced his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013. Ewa Krason, Environment Maryland Field Organizer, released the following statement:

“There’s never been a more important time to invest in a cleaner, greener, healthier future. The President’s budget shows real leadership in building a clean energy economy in the United States, and Maryland, powered by pollution-free energy and thousands of local jobs, as well as continued support for conservation of the places we love. Additionally, the President’s proposal to increase funding for public transit will help reduce our oil dependence.

“President Obama’s proposals to invest in protecting public health and the environment stand in stark contrast to the House Republicans’ attempts to decimate EPA’s budget, zero out land and water conservation funding, and eliminate dedicated transit funding.” 

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BACKGROUND:

Energy- The president’s budget recognizes that clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power is the key to a future with cleaner air and water and healthy local economies.  The budget invests in the continued growth of clean energy in America by extending the Production Tax Credit for wind and other renewables and the 1603 Incentives Program and the 48C manufacturing tax credit. The budget also funds more renewable energy development, including the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to make solar power cost-competitive by the end of the decade, and wind energy, including offshore wind technologies.

In addition, the president’s budget wisely prioritizes energy efficiency programs – the fastest, cheapest and cleanest way to cut pollution and save consumers money.  The budget proposes increased funding for energy efficiency programs within the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). It also encourages Congress to pass the HomeStar program, provides increased funding for the Building Technologies Program, and continues its commitment to improving the energy efficiency of all federal buildings.  It also provides funding to improve energy efficiency in HUD-assisted public and privately-owned housing through better energy use data collection and analysis.

Preservation- President Obama has been an advocate for preserving the best of America through his America’s Great Outdoors initiative and continues to support preservation initiatives in this budget.

The President’s proposal to direct $450 million to preservation through the Land and Water Conservation Fund is an important step towards protecting our waterways, wildlife and open spaces, while providing communities with recreational access, and bolstering local economies.

The President’s commitment to conservation stands in stark contrast to House efforts to strike out funding to protect national parks and public lands.  Environment America urges Congress to support the president’s recommendation for conservation funding in FY13.  Finally, Environment America urges this Congress to ensure dedicated funding to protect our treasured lands by creating a permanent, fully-funded Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Transportation- America's dependence on oil pollutes our air, destroys our climate, and causes environmental disasters on the scale of the tragic oil spill in the Gulf. Environment America supports measures to get off oil, including creating clean transportation choices across the country.

The president's budget makes crucial investments in a clean transportation future, calling for $108 billion total for transit programs over six years - a 105 percent increase over the last major transportation bill. This investment improves on current law and is far superior to the House of Representatives’ proposed bill that cuts all dedicated transit funding and seeks to deepen our oil dependence with new drilling along our coasts and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Environmental Protection Agency- The president’s FY 2013 budget cuts funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) by $150 million from FY 2012 enacted levels. Protecting our environment and health are essential to a thriving country, and it is critical that EPA get the funding it needs to adequately protect our air, our water, and the public health.

Environment Maryland is disappointed that the president chose to further cut Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds from FY 2012 levels. From the Chesapeake Bay to the Puget and all the smaller waterways in between, Americans strongly support protecting their drinking water and treasured waterways. Cutting these funds is a short-term budget fix that will lead to long-term problems for America’s water infrastructure and the overall health of our nation’s waterways.

Environment Maryland supports the president’s continued commitment to restoring the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, and Gulf Coast. Environment America is glad that the president increased funding for the Bay by $15 million over FY 2012 levels, and maintained Great Lakes funding at FY 2012 levels for another year. Investing in these waterways is both popular and smart. As millions love to travel to the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake, and the Gulf ever year, each waterway generates billions of dollars for our economy.

The president is also recommending funding to research the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing. The rapid development of this dangerous type of gas drilling across the country poses serious risks to our water, our land, our air, and our health.