Bloomberg News

Republicans Target EPA Overseas Grants to Cut Deficit

September 11, 2012

U.S. House Republicans proposed blocking Environmental Protection Agency grants made for international research as a way to trim the federal deficit.

The EPA awards, which topped $21 million last year, included projects to train Polish municipalities on landfill gas, a study of swine manure in China and promotion of a “Breathe Easy Jakarta” program on indoor-air quality in Indonesia. The deficit will be $1.1 trillion this year, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated.

“These projects may be perfectly fine, but when we have this kind of debt, we need to curtail them,” Representative Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, the Republican chairman of the subcommittee on Energy and Power of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said today at a hearing. Whitfield pushed legislation at the meeting to prohibit the international grants.

The EPA said that its spending on projects outside the U.S. accounted for less than 1 percent of the agency’s grant budget in the past four years, and that these types of programs date back to 1972.

“While the EPA’s investment in international grants is comparatively small, these grants play an important role in protecting the health and environment of American citizens,” Craig Hooks, an assistant EPA administrator, said in prepared testimony. The legislation “will cripple the agency’s ability through grants to address harmful air pollutants that affect both the global and domestic environment.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at jmorgan97@bloomberg.net


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