Inhofe letter asks why EPA requests $1.24 billion in new funding, despite $2 billion on hand

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe is challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s request for $1.24 billion in new funding when the agency has more than $2 billion at hand left over from the 2011 budget.

A February report from the Office of Management and Budget showed the agency still had $2.26 billion in unspent funding at the time. The EPA has requested $1.24 billion in additional funding for the 2012 fiscal year.

In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson Tuesday, obtained by The Daily Caller, Inhofe questioned the agency’s choice not to spend the unused funds and asked why its budget has grown so much.

“At a time when we are looking for every opportunity to cut spending and reduce the deficit, the EPA must be held accountable for why such a large portion of funds from the FY2011 Superfund budget sat idle and were clearly not used to protect the environment or public health,” Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, told TheDC.

The $2.26 billion is part of the EPA’s “unobligated balance” — funding that has not been designated for a specific purpose. Inhofe asked in the letter why the non-designated funds totaled nearly a quarter of its budget.

“It is not unusual to have an office carry over an unobligated balance from year to year, but it is unusual to have an office carry over an amount that is over one and a half times its total fiscal year request,” the letter read.

“To put this in perspective, EPA’s FY 2012 Superfund request is $1.24 billion and the budget request for the entire EPA is $8.97 billion—so EPA is holding on to one quarter of its total budget in its Superfund account,” Inhofe wrote to Jackson. “OMB estimates that, coupled with EPA’s FY2012 request, that amount will grow to almost half of the EPA’s total FY 2012 budget request. The EPA needs to answer to the taxpayer for these actions.”

Inhofe is the second Republican to go after the EPA this week. A new report from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa faulted the agency for coordinating with environmental groups to target energy producers.

  • Chapster

    Here’s a novel idea: CUT the next EPA budget by the amount not spent last year!

  • EscapeFromCalifornia

    Not a nickel for that lawless, statist bunch. The EPA has been turned from something noble possessing a national consensus – cleaning our air and water – into a quasi-erotic fantasy for social engineers, socialists and pre-Luddite ‘environmentalists’ who would cut our population in half and make the rest of us live in high-density urban enclaves (anyone remember the Chicago-style Projects? I do…). Their vision for America is closer to Soylent Green than Star Trek’s Federation – and every bit as insidious.

    Their lawless crusade to shove a cap & trade regime on us, to use the Endangered Species Act to kill off industry, to stop housing development, to prevent the mining/drilling/timbering of our bountiful natural resources, and to control our very exhaling is a threat to our lives, our livelihoods, our Constitution and our liberties. ‘Save the Planet’ is a crusade to control people – and has very little to do with saving the 4.5 billion year old planet Earth.

    To quote Roberto Duran, ‘no mas’. And go get ’em, Senator Inhofe.

  • didacticrogue

    This surplus – if not the entire agency – should be a prime target for deficit reduction.

  • spike1120

    obammy rule number one: get all the legitimate dough you can from congress and I’ll steal the rest you need to co-opt the country.

  • 1TrueOne55

    Maybe we should actually impliment the “Use it or LOSE it” Budgeting practice and claw back that funding into a reduction of the EPA’s FY2012 Budget request. At least they will have to go to reconciliation when the Senate tries to put it back in and then it goes to committee to be negotiated and they lose at least 50% of those left over funds and that would satisfy their Budget request of 1.24B going forward.

    • wagnert in atlanta

      Amen, brother!