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BUSH BUDGET FOLLOW UP: STATE-BY-STATE CLEAN WATER CUTS
The Bush administration's FY 2006 budget proposes a staggering 10.4 percent reduction in environmental funding, with the deepest cuts directed at clean water spending, which would drop by nearly $700 million. Even regions singled out for additional funding -- most notably the Great Lakes area, which is slated to receive a $28 million increase -- come out as net losers in Bush's proposed budget. The dramatic decrease in clean water funding could lead to more sewer overflows, beach closures and disease outbreaks across the country, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
To find out about the clean water funds at risk in your state, click here.
The chart reveals that a key program bearing the brunt of the proposed reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget is the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). This popular and successful federal program -- America's premier clean water funding source -- provides long-term, low-interest loans to states for sewage plant construction and upgrades.
The new budget slashes CWSRF funding to $730 million, a roughly one-third (or $361 million) cut from last year's enacted level ($1.09 billion). Moreover, this year's proposed level for the clean water loan fund is $612 million less than the amount enacted two years ago ($1.34 billion). Making matters worse, the president's budget also proposes a $339 million reduction in grants that help states pay for water infrastructure improvement projects.
"President Bush claims to supports state and local initiatives but his new budget leaves communities high and dry in addressing their clean water needs," said Wesley Warren, deputy director of NRDC's Advocacy Center. "With 45 percent of the nation's assessed waters unable to meet federal standards, America deserves more clean water funding, not less."