Energy & Environment

EPA head slams GOP budget cuts

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday castigated congressional Republicans for seeking to cut the agency’s budget, saying the cuts threaten core environmental protections.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said her agency has been trying to become more “lean,” including cutting a sixth of its workforce, but the GOP, which now controls both chambers of Congress, is going too far.

{mosads}“Taking away our core budget doesn’t just impact the Clean Power Plan and problems of the future,” McCarthy told reporters, referring to the agency’s highly controversial proposed carbon dioxide limits for power plants.

“It definitely impacts our ability — which I think the general public has relied on — to protect their direct public health and the environment,” she said.

The House will vote this week on an appropriations bill for fiscal 2016 that would cut the EPA’s funding by 9 percent and block Obama administration priorities such as carbon rules and the expansion of federal jurisdiction over waterways.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has passed its own EPA spending bill that cuts the agency’s funding by nearly 7 percent and has many of the same policy provisions.

McCarthy said the proposed bills would eat into the agency’s ability to protect air and water from pollution.

“We’re not talking about worrying just about the problems of the future and the new ones today, but we’re talking about threats to clean air, clean water,” she said.

“States calling us all the time, congresspeople calling us all the time when there are challenges in their communities,” McCarthy continued. “Who are they going to call if it’s not EPA? Ghostbusters won’t answer the phone for this one.”

The White House cited similar concerns in a notice threatening to veto the House bill.

Republicans disagree and say that their changes are necessary to stop the Obama administration’s aggressive agenda.

“This administration has been hell-bent on implementing all sorts of regulations that are harmful to both our economy and our energy security,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said.

“Bill-wide, we have included several important policy provisions aimed to stop this sort of overzealous bureaucratic red tape.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over the EPA’s budget, said their bill “pulls back on EPA’s regulatory overreach.”

Tags Appropriations Environmental Protection Agency Gina McCarthy

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