EPA has requested a 6 percent budget increase, from $8.1 billion to $8. 6 billion. The budget prioritizes climate change as chief concern for the agency and the administration. A fair amount of the agency’s budget — $1.1 billion, Administrator Gina McCarthy told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee — will fund the agency’s climate change response, including:

  • $52 million to hire 40 lawyers to defend and implement greenhouse gas emissions regulations such as the Clean Power Plan.
  • $25 million to support state efforts to comply with the Clean Power Plan and other greenhouse gas emissions rules.
  • Funding to support additional greenhouse gas emissions programs and rule makings, including transportation emissions and methane emissions.
  • Funding to support the agency’s international climate change advocacy.

The budget also proposes the creation of a $4 billion Clean Power Incentive Fund to provide states and tribes with additional financial support for taking EPA sanctioned steps toward lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

There are three take-aways from this budget. Foremost, climate change remains a chief priority of the Obama administration. Second, EPA is preparing for legal battle and is unlikely to back down if states refuse to file implementation plans.  Third, the administration of the regulatory state is quite expensive, never mind the cost of regulations to business and consumers.