Runyan, LoBiondo Question EPA on Cuts to Barnegat and Delaware Bay Funding

May 17, 2013

Washington, D.C. – Today, Reps. Jon Runyan (NJ-3), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-2), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1), and Tim Bishop (NY-1) wrote the Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting an explanation as to why the EPA is reducing funding for National Estuaries Programs (NEP’s) by 15% for FY13 instead of the previously estimated 5% the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced in a March 1 memo. 

Below you can find the text of the full letter.  You can also find the OMB report here http://tinyurl.com/bknzhu8

Dear Acting Administrator Perciasepe,

Our offices recently learned that National Estuaries Programs (NEP’s) around the nation were recently notified that their budgets will be reduced by fifteen percent this year.  This figure is three times higher than the 5% reduction the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) March memo indicated the Environmental Protection Agency would receive under the sequester.  We are concerned about the level of this cut and hope you can provide our offices with information regarding how this level was chosen. 

On March 1, 2013 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memo calculating the uniform percentage reductions under the Budget Control Act, which triggered the sequester.  This memo stated that “nonexempt discretionary, nondefense spending” would be reduced by five percent due to the sequester.  The EPA falls under this category and NEP’s funding is administered by the EPA.  If OMB stated that only a 5% reduction would occur, then why have the NEP’s been asked to take a 15% reduction? 

The National Estuaries Program helps to protect 28 watersheds throughout the United States.  Each one of these programs is unique and works with local partners to help secure and leverage funds from multiple sources.  Since 2000 alone, NEP’s have restored and protected more than 1.5 million acres of land.  These programs also have widespread public support in our local communities. 

NEP’s are very important to helping protect our threatened estuaries from many threats including pollution and eutraphication.  These programs should not be singled out for additional reductions above those required by the Budget Control Act.  We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,

 

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