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EPA Unveils Biggest Budget Ever: Cash for Offsets, Emissions Data, Biofuels Research

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If the Obama administration has not done enough to convince you that change has come to Washington, it is at least bringing change to Environmental Protection Agency coffers. The EPA today unveiled a proposal for what, if enacted, would be the agency’s largest-ever budget. At $10.5 billion, it represents a 35 percent jump from the current budget. As agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson told reporters today, “I won’t try to act as if that’s an austerity budget. Perhaps the last eight years were an austerity budget,” the Washington Post reports.

epa-2010-budget1Jackson also said the agency has “a revitalized mission,” and that includes a new commitment to initiatives that could impact the clean energy and efficiency sectors. Here’s the breakdown of key proposals:

Renewable Fuels Standards – $21.3 million: Up from $8 million in 2009, this investment is meant to help the EPA’s Ann Arbor Laboratory “assess the impacts of higher percentage biofuel blends and evaluate new vehicle and engine designs that handle those blends.”

Greenhouse Gas Emission Registry – $17 million: This investment, up from the $6.4 million enacted for 2009, is meant to help the agency set up emission data reporting and management systems, analytical tools, guidance for “the regulated community and source measurement technologies.” It also plans to conduct industry-specific workshops and develop technologies for measuring greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Efficiency at EPA HQ – $7.1 million: An increase of $2 million over the agency’s 2009 investment in energy efficiency for its own facilities, this money would go toward purchases of clean energy and “upgrading safety and power facilities.”

Biofuels Research – $5.6 million: The EPA says it wants to increase this portion of the budget from $0.6 million in 2009 in order to “aid decision-makers in better understanding the risk tradeoffs associated with biofuels use and production.”

Carbon Offsets Methodology – $5 million: The EPA plans to analyze what domestic and international offsets for greenhouse gas emissions can and should be certified under a cap-and-trade system. In cooperation with other agencies, it proposes developing “protocols to measure the effectiveness of offset projects” and “options to include early action offset credits and international offsets and provide advice on effective, environmentally sound approaches to offsets.” No money was enacted for this in 2009.

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