President Obama unveiled his proposed budget Monday for fiscal year 2013, but it doesn't have much hope of passing. The Senate hasn't approved a budget in more than 1,000 days, and congressional Republicans have spent the past 24 hours deriding the FY 2013 budget as a "campaign document." Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said recently that "we do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year," arguing the August debt-ceiling deal rendered it unnecessary.


But that doesn't mean Obama's budget is irrelevant. The administration is conducting a full-court press in pitching the proposal, sending out officials like Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to sway lawmakers as well as voters. And even though it largely is a campaign document — packed with political prose and talking points — it nonetheless serves as a kind of presidential prospectus, offering a preview of what Obama hopes to accomplish if elected to a second term.


The $3.8 trillion budget is a dense document, but here's a look at some of its key proposals for agencies and issues related to the environment:


Department of Agriculture (PDF)

• $23 billion in discretionary funds, down 3 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $827 million for discretionary conservation projects, down 2.8 percent

• $3.3 billion for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, up 9.3 percent

• $6 billion for "renewable and clean energy and environmental improvements"

• $325 million for Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, targeting "human nutrition and obesity reduction, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, global food security, and climate change"

• $1.4 billion for water and wastewater grants and loans, up 15 percent


Department of Commerce (PDF)

• $5.2 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, up 3.3 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $860 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, up 13 percent


Department of Energy (PDF)

• $27.2 billion in discretionary funds, up 3.2 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $2.3 billion for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, up 29 percent

• $5 billion for the Office of Science, up 2.4 percent

• $310 for the DOE Building Technologies Program, up 41 percent

• 80 percent increase in funding for "energy efficiency activities to improve the energy productivity and competitiveness of our industries and businesses"

• $310 million for SunShot Initiative, "to make solar energy cost-competitive nationwide without subsidies by the end of the decade"

• $95 million for wind energy, including offshore wind technologies

• $65 million for geothermal energy and enhanced geothermal systems

• $770 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy, including funding "for advanced small modular reactors R&D"

• $421 million for fossil fuel R&D, including $12 million "to safely and responsibly develop America's natural gas resources"

• $350 million for Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, a program designed to promote innovative energy technologies

• Eliminates $4 billion annually in "inefficient and outdated fossil fuel subsidies"

• No new funding for the DOE loan guarantee program


Department of the Interior (PDF)

• $11.4 billion in discretionary funding, up 1 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $1.1 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, up 4.4 percent

• $164 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, up 1.9 percent

• $222 million for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, up 12.7 percent

• $141 million for the Office of Surface Mining, down 6 percent

• $994 million for the Bureau of Reclamation, down 2.9 percent

• $1.1 billion for the U.S. Geological Survey, up 3.2 percent

• $1.5 billion for the Fish and Wildlife Service, up 4.9 percent

• $2.6 billion for the National Park Service, down less than 1 percent

• $86 million to review and permit new renewable energy projects on federal lands


Department of Transportation (PDF)

• $74 billion in "discretionary and mandatory budgetary resources," up 2 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $50 billion in immediate investments to support "critical infrastructure projects," including roads, bridges, transit systems, border crossings, railways and runways

• $2.7 billion in 2013, and $47 billion over six years, to develop high-speed passenger rail corridors and improve intercity passenger rail service "to significantly enhance the national rail network"

• $1 billion for the Next Generation Air Transportation System, to modernize U.S. aviation systems

• $248 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, up 44.2 percent


Environmental Protection Agency (PDF)

• $8.3 billion in discretionary funds, down 1.2 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $3.7 billion for EPA operating budget, down 4.7 percent

• $1.2 billion for state and tribal assistance grants, up 10.4 percent

• $1.2 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, down 19.8 percent

• $850 million for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, down 7.4 percent

• $93 million for brownfields assessment and cleanup, down 2.1 percent

• $15 million for clean diesel grants, down 50 percent

• $20 million for targeted water infrastructure, up 33.3 percent

• $1.2 billion for the Superfund program, down 3.1 percent

• $73 million for Chesapeake Bay restoration, up 25.9 percent

• $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, same as 2012


National Aeronautics and Space Administration (PDF)

• $17.7 billion in discretionary funds, down 0.3 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $4.9 billion for science programs, down 3.2 percent

• $3.9 billion for exploration, up 5.7 percent

• $552 million for aeronautics, down 3 percent

• $4.7 billion for space operations and technology, down 0.7 percent

• $100 million for education, down 26.5 percent

• $2.8 billion for cross-agency support, down 5.2 percent

• $619 million for environmental compliance and restoration, up 27.4 percent



• $45 million for the DOE, DOI and EPA "to understand and minimize the potential environmental, health, and safety impacts of natural gas development through hydraulic fracturing"

• $450 million for Land and Water Conservation Fund programs in the DOI and USDA

• $1.4 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, "to help private landowners and agricultural producers implement ... conservation practices"

• $246 million for ecological restoration in the Everglades and South Florida

• $2.6 billion for the multi-agency U.S. Global Change Research Program, up 6 percent from the enacted 2012 level

• $7.4 billion for the National Science Foundation, up 4.8 percent


See the entire budget proposal here.


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Russell McLendon ( @russmclendon ) writes about humans and other wildlife.

Obama budget and the environment
President Obama's proposed budget may be a longshot in Congress, but it still offers a preview of what he hopes to accomplish if re-elected this fall.