The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s new report, “The Growing Burden of Unfunded EPA Mandates on the States,” says states are forced to implement more and more federal environmental programs with progressively less money from federal sources.
The report unveils new research on federal-to-state funding levels, identifies prime examples of recent regulations stressing state environmental agencies and offers recommendations to Congress that it said will preserve federal/state cooperation.
“If EPA continues on this path it could force a collapse of co-operative federalism, which would be a disaster for the administration of environmental law,” according to the chamber.
The report said the states now administer 96.5 percent of all federal delegated environmental programs, yet federal categorical grants to states fund no more than 28 percent of the amounts needed to run the programs of the 30 states that supplied the chamber with information.
The chamber said the remaining funds must be obtained from state appropriations or fees on regulated entities within a state.
Real-dollar grant assistance to the states declined 29 percent between 2004 and 2015, while the Environmental Protection Agency has imposed about $104 billion in new annual regulatory mandates on the states, the chamber said.
In simple terms, the cost of the EPA’s regulations increased by 35 percent between 2004 and 2015 while the agency’s categorical grants to the states for such programs declined by 29 percent during the same period, the chamber said.