The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), held a hearing with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson today to discuss the agency's FY 2013 budget request.
Administrator Jackson appeared before the subcommittees to justify her agency's latest budget request, which represents only a 1.2 percent reduction from the FY 2012 enacted level. Members questioned whether the budget request reflects the need to reduce federal spending given current fiscal realities.
"Based upon what I see, only about one percent less spending is proposed from last year. With such a minimal decrease from an agency whose funding has skyrocketed under this administration, I have concerns we are not committing our maximum effort toward scaling back wasteful spending," said Shimkus.
In addition to reviewing EPA's spending programs, members pressed Jackson over the consequences of EPA's regulatory agenda on the American economy and taxpayers.
"Each dollar EPA spends can end up costing us many more dollars as a consequence of the agency's ill-advised actions. For example, when EPA uses funds to come up with regulations that contribute to rising gasoline prices, it costs us both as taxpayers and at the pump. A similar thing happens when the agency raises our electric bills through burdensome power plant regulations," said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
EPA's grant programs drew particular scrutiny in today's hearing as members questioned EPA's decision to spend taxpayer dollars on programs that appear to be outside the agency's core mission.