Energy & Environment

House panel draft proposal includes $15.6 billion increase in Interior funds

The House Appropriations Committee proposed funding increases for the Interior Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday, but at slightly lower levels than those proposed by the Biden administration for Interior.

The draft proposal for fiscal 2022 includes $15.6 billion in Interior discretionary funding, $2.3 billion more than that enacted in fiscal 2021 but $240 million less than the White House requested.

The draft proposal would also appropriate $11.34 billion for the EPA, up $2.11 billion from the enacted fiscal 2021 level and $110.8 million above the White House request.

The request for the Interior Department includes $1.6 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, $285 million above the enacted fiscal 2021 level but $26 million below the White House request. It would also include $1.9 billion for the Fish and Wildlife Service, $301 million more than enacted in fiscal 2021 and $32 million less than that requested by the administration.

The EPA proposal includes $248 million for environmental justice initiatives, up $235 million from the levels enacted in fiscal 2021. Of this, $148 million in programmatic funds would go toward broadening the agency’s capacity to incorporate these considerations across all aspects of EPA work.

Similarly, the proposal would provide more for Superfund than both the White House proposal and the enacted fiscal 2021 budget, with $1.54 billion for the program. This represents $331 million more than fiscal 2021 and $2.5 million more than the Biden administration’s request.

The committee’s draft request also includes $61.8 million for regulation and study of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), building on $49 million appropriated for the agency in 2021.

The request comes as the Biden administration and the progressive wing of the Democratic party have agreed on the broad strokes of climate action but often been at odds on the details and scope.

Congressional climate hawks have backed a proposal from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) that would put more than $100 billion toward a Civilian Climate Corps over the next five years. The House committee’s draft proposal includes the corps but does not identify specific funding levels.

A committee press release says that the legislation creates a Civilian Climate Corps, which would put people to work in areas like  land and water conservation. 

 
Language establishing the program, however, doesn’t appear to be in the draft legislation that was released. Committee spokesperson Evan Hollander said in an email that information on the Civilian Climate Corps will be included in a report that the panel will release on Wednesday morning. 
 
The House’s proposal will almost certainly not ultimately become law, but the request illustrates the chamber’s priorities and comes after the Trump administration repeatedly minimized or outright denied climate science.

“With offshore wind development, reclamation of abandoned mines, and a Civilian Climate Corps, we can turn a challenge into an opportunity,” Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said in a statement. “I am also pleased that this bill increases funding for environmental enforcement, so we can crack down on polluters who all too often escape the consequences for the damage they cause. I am also very proud that this bill supports Native American families with investments in education and health and fosters equity with a focus on environmental justice.”

 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Ed Markey Rosa DeLauro

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