Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Unintended consequences

States are slashing funds for environmental programs, threatening their ability to meet federal standards for clean air and water.

All but two states, Montana and North Dakota, have made significant cuts to initiatives ranging from toxic waste cleanup to sewage treatment, says Steve Brown, executive director for Environmental Council of the States, which unites state agencies.

The budget crunch is so severe that some states are struggling to implement and enforce new rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Brown cites a recent requirement for states to regulate waste discharges from more than 60,000 commercial ships that ply U.S. coastal waters.

Increased federal environmental mandates on the states increases neither environmental funding nor environmental action. It simply shifts scant state funds towards federal priorities.

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