Fund cut raises brows

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U sa's George W Bush administration is once again facing flak from environmentalists, this time for proposing a nearly six per cent cut in the budget of the us Environmental Protection Agency (epa) for fiscal year 2006. While the administration says the proposal is part of a larger deficit-cutting move, environmental groups warn it will affect the plan to provide clean water in cities.

The proposed fund cut from 2005's allocation of us $8 billion to us $7.57 billion mostly consists of reducing grants for a revolving fund to upgrade sewage and septic systems and storm-water run-off projects. Environmentalists say cities need to upgrade their worn-out sewage systems. But acting epa administrator Steve Johnson says the plan is "a strong request that allows us to keep up the pace of environmental protections'. An epa spokesperson even said the lower funds for 2006 will actually offset higher funds appropriated in the earlier two years to maintain the programme's total commitment. The proposal is to be debated and revised by the Congress.