Examining Obama's Stimulus Plan, Part 1: The EPA
This week, we're taking a look at how the environment figures into the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that Obama signed into law on Feb. 17.
Tomorrow, federal agencies begin reporting how they're using funds from the economic stimulus plan, which includes more than $7 billion for programs administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. The bulk of this money ($6 billion) will go toward modernizing and improving the nation's water systems. This includes $4 billion in revolving funds for wastewater and water-quality infrastructure and $2 billion for safe drinking water.
Of this money, keep an eye on the $800 million appropriated for grants meant to “address green infrastructure, water or energy-efficiency improvements, or other environmentally innovative activities.” These funds only stay green provided there are enough eligible applications.
Beyond water infrastructure, the stimulus bill provides for environmental cleanup: $100 million for Brownfields industrial and commercial sites, $600 million for Superfund hazardous-waste sites, $200 million to fix leaky underground storage tanks, and $300 million to help communities reduce diesel emissions.
The stimulus bill also includes $20 million for oversight -- because someone has to keep tabs on how all that money's being spent. Keep track at recovery.gov.
-- Mario Aguilar