Last month, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton urged President George Bush to restore proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agencys research budget for fiscal year 2005. Under Bushs proposed budget, funding for research on building contamination would be eliminatedfrom more than $8 million in fiscal year 2004 down to nothing in fiscal year 2005, according to Clintons office.
In a letter to Bush, Clinton wrote that the proposed cuts represent an affront to New Yorkers, many of whom have lingering concerns about the potential contamination of buildings by dangerous World Trade Center dust. Clinton also cited the recent delivery of a Ricin-contaminated letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist as evidence that building contamination remains a pressing homeland security threat.
Under a 1998 executive order, the E.P.A. was given responsibility for cleaning up buildings and other sites contaminated by chemical or biological agents as a result of terrorism. The E.P.A.s budget justification documents said the proposed cut in researching funding will force it to disband the technical and engineering expertise that will be needed to address known and emerging biological and chemical threats in the future, according Clintons office.