President Obama Releases His FY16 Budget Proposal

On February 1 President Obama released his FY16 budget proposal to Congress and it intensifies the focus on the President’s funding and policy priorities for the final fiscal year of his presidency. The proposal will boost the EPA’s funding by $452 million – up to $8.591 billion from its current $8.139 billion funding. The proposal sent to Congress calls for a cut to the Clean Water SRF program below the amount appropriated in FY15, but increases the Drinking Water SRF request level. For the Clean Water SRF the President has requested $1.1 billion, and the Drinking Water SRF request is $1.2 billion.

The SRF request of $2.3 billion for both SRFs combined appears to hold the total funds relatively steady in overall funding from FY15, where the clean water SRF received $1.4 billion and the drinking water SRF received $900 million for a combined $2.3 billion.

The FY16 budget proposal for EPA also requests funding increases for the agency’s waste, environmental justice, chemical safety, enforcement and water pollution control programs, which would support the implementation of new rules and agency initiatives in those areas. For example, EPA says it is seeking an extra $70 million in water quality programs and an extra $47 million to address chemical safety, among other increases.

For the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works programs the budget includes $4.732 billion in gross discretionary funding, with a focus on projects and programs that have high economic and environmental value, or address risks to public safety.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 is $1.2 billion, an increase of nearly $150 million above the FY 2015 enacted level.  The budget also proposes a reorganization of the USGS into core mission areas, one of which is Water Science in the 21st Century, which receives a budget increase of $14.5 million.

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation FY16 budget includes $1.1 billion for water projects. It focuses on investments in the safety, reliability and efficiency of water infrastructure, as well as in conservation, reuse and applied science measures to address water supply challenges, especially in the West.

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