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EPA in the FY 2018 Omnibus: Environmental Research Spared Severe Cuts

Congress sidelined the Administration’s historically large funding reductions, and scrapped a proposed reorganization at the agency.

See Also: EPA in the AAAS R&D Dashboard | Complete Data Tables

In the end, Congress balked at the Administration’s proposed 30 percent cut to the EPA budget and provided an overall flat appropriation for FY 2018. While a relief for environmental and climate researchers, this comes amid large funding boosts to other science agencies such as NIH, following a recent budget deal to raise overall discretionary spending over the next two years. Congress also rejected the Administration’s attempts to implement a "workforce reshaping" program that would have reduced the number of EPA scientists through organizational restructuring efforts. Lawmakers did not include any of the $12 million in requested funds for EPA workforce reshaping, and expect the agency will not consolidate or close any regional offices in FY 2018, per language inserted into the omnibus bill.

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Bottom Line: The EPA budget would total $8.1 billion, the same as FY 2017 enacted. The agency’s Science and Technology (S&T) account would see corresponding flat funding.

What’s Flat/Decreasing: EPA’s five core S&T programs would all be flat-funded (see Funding Table linked above); further details are not provided within the omnibus.

What’s New: The omnibus legislation directs EPA S&T to conduct a study, utilizing partnerships with not-for-profit institutions, on the effectiveness of environmental regulations relating to unconventional oil and gas development.

In Historical Context: The FY 2018 omnibus would leave EPA’s estimated R&D budget approximately 34 percent below FY 2005 levels, after adjusting for inflation (see graph above).

Back to Omnibus Table of Contents

Photo Credit: US EPA

Author

David Parkes

Program Associate