The cleanup program for the nation's most hazardous waste sites gets a $67 million increase in the budget request, but that is compared to the deep cuts put in place by automatic spending cuts. It means that no new cleanups will start. But there will be enough money to deal with emergency releases from contaminated sites.
States will also see less federal money to help improve infrastructure and treatment plants for drinking water, meaning the focus will be on small, underserved communities.
The budget also suggests that the agency will beef up its regulation of pesticides, by developing methods to better detect and enforce limits for residues on food and by applying health-based standards to the registration of new pesticides.
Total Spending: $12 billion
Percentage Change from 2013: 2.7 percent decrease
Discretionary Spending: $11.7 billion
Mandatory Spending: $297 million
Highlights: Obama's budget plan cuts overall spending for Interior the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decried mandatory budget cuts for the current year that he said have left the department "in a ditch."
Budget cuts already imposed have forced the closing of visitor centers at national parks across the country and have forced furloughs for thousands of employees, including U.S. park police, Salazar said. Hundreds of park police officers face 14 unpaid furlough days between now and Sept. 30, Salazar said, and the department has canceled a training class for recruits. In addition, as many as 7,000 young people will not be hired by parks this summer as planned.
Obama's budget proposal "takes us out of the ditch," Salazar told reporters Wednesday, but would cut overall spending.
The budget requests $600 million for land and water conservation and for the first time would permanently authorize annual mandatory spending for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a joint program with Agriculture that protects parks, wildlife refuges, forests, rivers, trails, battlefields, historic and cultural sites.