2010 appropriations: House targets EPA financial systems modernization

White House opposes proposed cuts to EPA IT budget

Proposed cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 information technology budget could severely hamper the agency’s efforts to modernize its financial management systems, according to a statement released last week by the Office of Management and Budget.

H.R. 2996, the 2010 spending bill covering the Interior Department, EPA and related agencies, provides $104,320,000 for IT, data management and security, which is $5,295,000 more than provided in 2009 but $5 million less than requested by President Barack Obama.

Language in the bill specifically says the decrease should come from EPA’s financial system modernization project.

“The Administration is concerned about the level of reductions to administrative functions and information technology which provide the backbone for all of EPA’s work to safeguard public health and the environment,” the OMB document states.

Because the Financial System Modernization Project is an integrated, single-core system, no significant segments of it can be deferred or omitted without affecting the remaining components, a White House official told Federal Computer Week.

Reducing tasks related to the project, such as testing or data conversion, would raise the risk of the project failing, the official said.

The proposed $5 million cut represents nearly 25 percent of the total funding for the project, the official said. A cut that large would delay implementation and increase the overall project cost, the official said. Proposed cuts to information technology spending at the EPA could have a negative impact on public health and the environment, according to a statement published last week by the Office of Management and Budget.

The statement addresses a proposed appropriations bill, H.R. 2996, being considered by the House.

“The administration is concerned about the level of reductions to administrative functions and information technology which provide the backbone for all of EPA’s work to safeguard public health and the environment,” the OMB document states.

President Barack Obama does not agree with a proposed $5 million cut from his request for EPA operations and administration programs, a White House official told Federal Computer Week.

Language in the bill specifically says the decrease should come from the EPA’s Financial System Modernization Project, the official said.

Because the project is an integrated, single-core system, no significant segments of it can be deferred or omitted without affecting the remaining components, the official said.

Reducing tasks related to the project, such as testing or data conversion, would raise the risk of the project failing, the official said.

The proposed $5 million cut represents nearly 25 percent of the total funding for the project, the official said. A cut that large would delay implementation and increase the overall project cost, the official said.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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