Friday, May 20, 2005

You Know Something is Wrong When...

... a government agency says they have enough money to fully do their job. That is exactly what the EPA is claiming. The new director claims that the EPA can function properly with the reduction in budget proposed by Bush. I have dealt a lot with the EPA in the past. Why were they never able to do anything that they were mandated to do because they didn't have the money to do it in the past, but don't need money now? Simple, they just aren't doing their jobs. Bush has repealed and rolled back so many of out environmental standards, that there is just nothing left for them to do. Bush latest proposal is to allow sewage plants to dump sewage into our lakes and rivers again. I guess the lessons of cholera in the past are lost on our lusterless leader.

Oh, did I mention that 3 years ago, the EPA approved using human sewage as fertilizer on crops that you eat?

New E.P.A. Chief Says Budget Is Sufficient

Published: May 20, 2005
WASHINGTON, May 19 - In his first appearance before Congress as the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen L. Johnson told a Senate appropriations subcommittee on Thursday that he was satisfied with President Bush's budget for the agency even though it represented a 5 percent decrease from the current fiscal year.

The president's request of $7.6 billion for the 2006 fiscal year, which begins on Sept. 1, "supports the work of the E.P.A. and its partners across the nation," Mr. Johnson said, adding that the agency was doing its part to help Mr. Bush reach his goal of cutting the overall budget deficit in half by 2009.

But by saying that the money would be sufficient to "carry out our goals and objectives," Mr. Johnson left the strong impression that he would take his lead from the White House, rather than cast a higher profile, as his immediate predecessors, Christie Whitman and Michael O. Leavitt, did on occasion.

In the case of Mrs. Whitman, a former New Jersey governor who was viewed by the White House as too moderate, it cost her her job. Mr. Leavitt, a former Utah governor considered a rising star on the national level, was promoted to secretary of health and human services.

Mr. Johnson, a career scientist at the agency who was confirmed by the Senate last month, received a warm welcome from subcommittee members. But the chairman, Senator Conrad Burns, Republican of Montana, opened the questioning by telling Mr. Johnson that he was "really concerned" about the decrease and its potential effect on a variety of agency programs.

Mr. Burns expressed particular concern about the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which distributes money to states to upgrade their old and eroding water supply systems.

In his budget two years ago, Mr. Bush asked for $6.8 billion to be spent on the program from 2004 through 2011. But the financing schedule, which allocated $850 million a year for 2004 and 2005, now falls to $730 million a year through 2011.

Calling the program "one of the most sought-after ways to finance water systems across America," Mr. Burns said the proposed allocation was "simply not enough" and he asked Mr. Johnson how the administration could justify reducing the annual allocation when many communities were in need of help, especially rural areas. Without more money, he said, problems will grow worse.

Mr. Johnson did not answer the question directly, but he told Mr. Burns that the agency was developing other ways to help communities improve their water systems, through technological advances and more efficient uses of water.

(Full Story)

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