|4:44 PM EDT||
Mike Simpson, R-ID 2nd
Mr. SIMPSON. This is really hard, Mr. Chairman, but given our allocation, we had to cut many EPA programs, including programs we support like the clean water and drinking water State revolving funds. In the base bill, we reduced nearly every EPA geographic program below the 2011 enacted level, in addition to providing none of the requested increases.
Despite the cuts, restoration of the Great Lakes remains a committee priority as demonstrated by the fact that the Great Lakes program is the largest recipient of funds in the geographic programs. It's the largest geographical area, also, so you would probably expect that.
While I appreciate the intent of the gentleman's offset, where he offset this from, we cut EPA's climate budget by $23 million--and it's easy to vote against funding for climate change or the increased funding that we have put into climate change--in the chairman's mark, and, believe it or not, there are some EPA programs we support under the climate change heading, including research and development of new automotive technologies, including the hydraulic hybrid technology for trucks, carbon
capture and sequestration, and initiatives to increase methane transmission.
The reality is that over a period of time, because ``climate change'' is now kind of the key phrase, that if you want to get money for your basic science, you call it ``climate change.'' Just like after 9/11, if you wanted money for some program, you called it ``homeland security.'' That was the key phrase. Now ``climate change'' is the key phrase. A lot of the requests from the administration have been basic science programs that have been going on for a long time but have been shifted over
and called climate change.
While we looked at the funding for climate change and the increases that had occurred in this budget over the years and that have been substantial, the fact is, when we looked at them, many of them were just basic science that needed to be continued. So we couldn't just go out and eliminate all the climate change or reduce it, I believe, any more than we did, and climate change took an $83 million hit in this bill.
We see the same thing happening in the Department of the Interior, where base programs have been reclassified as climate change. So we really need to be [Page: H5623]
careful about what we are using as an offset under the administration's classification of a ``climate change program.''
In addition, funding for the Great Lakes restoration efforts grew from $60 million in 2009 to $475 million in 2010. Therefore, at the chairman's mark of $250 million, funding for the Great Lakes is still four times above its historical levels. And, again, it continues to be a committee priority as evidenced by the fact that the Great Lakes program is the largest recipient of funds in the EPA's geographic programs.
If I felt we could fund the Great Lakes at a higher level within our allocation, then believe me, I would have done so. I would have done anything to avoid this debate with the gentleman from Ohio, but, unfortunately, even though the gentleman makes a good point and I agree with him and if we had more money in the allocation I would be more than happy to do it, it's the offset and where it comes from that causes me some concern.