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Funding for the Environmental Protection Agency would be cut by nearly a third next year under an FY20 budget proposal released by the Trump administration on March 11. The spending cuts, which would reduce EPA appropriations from their FY19 level of just over $8.8 billion to $6.1 billion next year, would also affect the agency’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) and Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) programs.

Under the administration’s request for EPA, the agency would receive $863 million for the  Drinking Water SRF next year, $301 million below the program’s FY19 appropriation. The Clean Water SRF would be subject to an even larger cut of $574 million, leaving the program with just under $1.12 billion in 2020. The WIFIA program would receive $25 million, well below its FY19 level of $68 million.

Despite the cuts, the administration’s budget documents attempt to put a positive spin on the proposal, explaining that in 2020, “EPA will focus resources on supporting the modernization of outdated drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure; creating incentives for new water technologies and innovation; and funding the core requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).” It also notes that the $25 million request for WIFIA could be leveraged into roughly $2 billion worth of loans to communities.

Other parts of the proposed EPA budget seek a total of $92.8 million to fund a number of new programs enacted by Congress last year through America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). These include $2 million for a Drinking Water Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability program that AMWA championed as AWIA moved through Congress. The president’s budget also requests $5 million for school drinking water fountain lead testing, $10 million for lead testing in schools, and $300,000 for a water workforce development grant program. Each of those programs was also authorized through AWIA.

However, the budget would zero-out funding for a three-year-old grant program designed to help communities and low-income households replace lead service lines. AMWA supported creation of that program in the WRDA legislation approved by Congress in 2016, and lawmakers appropriated $15 million to it in FY19. Trump’s budget envisions using the SRFs, WIFIA, and other newly-authorized AWIA programs to continue lead reduction efforts, though none of those programs are dedicated to the removal of lead service lines.

The president’s request officially kicks off the FY20 budget season, but Congress is expected to largely reject the broad funding cuts to EPA and other agencies sought by the administration. President Trump proposed similarly dramatic reductions to EPA ahead of both the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years – each of which Congress denied.