SPRINGFIELD - Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has recommended a fiscal year 2005 budget for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency that will enhance and continue the Agency’s programs to protect the environment in the state. Carrying out the Governor’s vision for reforming and renewing state programs, Illinois EPA is implementing initiatives for healthy school environments, cleaner air, cleaner water, cleaning up brownfields and other contaminated sites and reducing open-dumping and littering. Efficiency and accountability will be increased through electronic and Internet-based permit applications and reporting and other regulatory streamlining, as well as making environmental information more accessible to citizens.
The Governor’s recommended budget also includes transferring the Pesticide Control Program from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Petroleum and Chemical Safety Program from the Office of the State Fire Marshal into Illinois EPA to achieve greater efficiency and coordination with related existing IEPA programs.
The Governor’s recommended General Revenue Fund appropriation for Illinois EPA for FY05 is $2.94 million, a decrease from $4.25 million for FY04. The total recommended FY05 budget for the Agency is $1.09 billion, a decrease from $1.13 billion in FY04. Authorized headcount would drop to 1,342 for FY05 compared to 1,357 for FY04, including the program staff transfers from the Illinois Department of Agriculture and Office of State Fire Marshal.
"This budget and increased efficiency and use of technology allows Illinois EPA to continue and enhance its core mission of protecting the environment and health of our citizens through new focused initiatives for cleaner air, land and water," said Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.
Illinois EPA is the state agency responsible for implementing and enforcing state and federal laws and regulations protecting the outdoor environment and public health. The Agency regulates and monitors thousands of industrial, municipal, wastewater and public water supply facilities, as well as responds to chemical releases and other environmental emergencies.
Much of the IEPA’s overall budget, or about $753 million, is for low-interest loan programs to assist communities in upgrading their wastewater and sewage systems and public water supply infrastructure. In many cases, the loans are vital to communities for meeting mandated new federal standards, most recently for stricter radium and arsenic limits for drinking water. The program is funded 80 percent by the federal government with a 20 percent state match and the loan repayments are also used to assist other communities.
The Agency will also continue to expand its outreach and pollution prevention efforts to regulated entities, small business, schools, agriculture and public interest groups and carry out the Governor’s commitment to Environmental Justice.
"Illinois EPA will maximize federal grant opportunities, funding from enforcement settlements and public-private partnerships to further stretch our resources," said Director Cipriano.
Key initiatives in FY05 include:
- Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative: A comprehensive approach to improve school environments through such programs as "Green Chemistry" and "Green Schools" workshops and hazardous material collections, the Governor’s Clean School Bus Program, and multi-agency approaches to energy efficiency and waste reduction.
- Illinois Clean and Green Energy Initiative: "Cool Illinois" will encourage companies to take voluntary actions to reduce Greenhouse Gases. The "Clean Power Project" will build on Governor Blagojevich’s commitment to promoting Illinois clean coal technology and increasing the use of renewable fuels, such as those made from crops grown by Illinois farmers.
- Prairie State Water Quality Initiative: Illinois EPA will ensure the continued improvement of the quality of Illinois lakes and streams by working with watershed groups, industry and municipalities to reduce discharges into waterways.