NACAA Reports on Impacts of Proposed Grant Cuts

May 22, 2017 – NACAA has prepared a report describing the likely adverse impacts on state and local air quality programs of the Administration’s proposed reductions of 30 percent in FY 2018 federal grants to those agencies.  The report, which is based on a survey of NACAA members, is entitled, Impacts of Proposed FY 2018 Budget Cuts on State and Local Air Quality Agencies.  The survey asked agencies about the possible impact of 30-percent reductions to state and local air agency grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act, as well as how they have adjusted to shrinking resources in recent years.  The survey also asked about the prospect of state and local governments providing additional resources and whether agencies are likely to return programs to EPA if funding is cut.  The report reflects input from 31 state and local air quality agencies and presents a dismal picture of the effects of such cuts, with agencies outlining the devastating impact on their efforts to provide healthful air quality for the American public.  Respondents indicated that their programs could face severe curtailments, including loss of staff, cancellation of activities and a diminished capacity to obtain and maintain healthful air quality, among other things.  Most noted that additional state and local resources to fill in the gaps are highly unlikely and that returning program elements to EPA would be very possible if faced with severe budget cuts.  The report includes summaries of the responses, as well as direct quotes from many of the agencies describing the likely effects of the budget cuts.  The Administration is planning to release its FY 2018 budget request on May 23, 2017 calling for, among other things, a 30-percent reduction in state and local air pollution control agency grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act and a 31-percent reduction in EPA’s overall budget.   The budget will also call for a 39-percent cut in EPA’s Science and Technology budget, a 35-percent cut in EPA’s Environmental Program and Management budget (i.e., the agency’s overall operating budget) and the elimination of funding for a dozen geographic programs including those for the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes and Puget Sound. The President also seeks to cut the Diesel Emission Reduction Grant Program by 80 percent, from $49.9 million in FY 2017 to $10 million in FY 2018, and to zero out Targeted Airshed Grants.  Information about the budget is available here.