WASHINGTON DC — In language that puts politics ahead of public safety and economic development, the House of Representatives’ Fiscal Year 2013 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill zeroes out funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s smart growth program and reduces EPA funding overall by 17 percent.
“Though House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers claims the bill prevents bureaucracy from stifling economic recovery, the reality is that such reductions do not take aim at our country’s real budget deficit sources,” Smart Growth America President and CEO Geoffrey Anderson says. “Instead they again show that some House members are willing to risk people’s health and slow innovative programs to get a message across during an election year.”
Perhaps most egregiously, the proposed appropriations bill would eliminate funding for the EPA’s long-standing Smart Growth Program, which now composes the Office of Sustainable Communities. The program has a history of success and earned high marks during the Bush administration.
“There’s just a clear lack of understanding about the positive economic, social and environmental impacts that can come from having a program that simply encourages communities to think about how they build and grow. The Smart Growth Program helps to create communities with better economic development prospects and great neighborhoods to live, play and raise a family in.”
“We all want the economy to do well,” Anderson adds, “but cutting effective, efficient programs like the Office of Sustainable Communities won’t help achieve that goal. There’s a way to grow your economy, save taxpayer dollars and address environmental concerns at the same time, and this program is doing just that.”
In addition to cutting all funding for the Smart Growth Program, the proposed House bill would cut EPA funding overall by 17 percent, below 1998 levels. The widely supported EPA Brownfields program would be funded at $23,642,000, equal to the fiscal year 2012 enacted level and $2,043,000 below the Obama Administration’s budget request.