WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee approved funding for a number of important environmental programs Friday as part of the FY21 funding bill for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Interior (DOI). Most notably, the budget dedicates emergency funding for many of the infrastructure proposals in the Moving Forward Act (H.R.2), including $10.2 billion for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. Additionally, the bill blocks the administration’s attempts to: open the Tongass National Forest to logging; drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge; expand offshore drilling; weaken protections on toxic mercury and arsenic emissions; and open the Boundary Waters to toxic pollution from sulfide mining.
Bart Johnsen-Harris, director of federal government affairs for Environment America, issued the following statement:
“The House is officially putting their money where their mouth is, using their constitutional power of the purse to protect and restore our environment. This is the greenest budget in recent memory, and we applaud Chairwomen Nita Lowey and Betty McCollum for their leadership.
“Key EPA programs—and the agency itself—have been chronically underfunded for years. This bill makes up for lost time, and then some. These ambitious and much-needed investments will begin to chip away at the estimated $472.6 billion and $271 billion backlogs for drinking water and clean water infrastructure, respectively. In addition to funding key programs, the bill goes further to protect our environment by blocking a number of damaging rollbacks that the administration has been advancing.
“It’s preposterous that EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urged the president to veto this funding for his own agency. His claim that the bill would defund water infrastructure programs is misleading. And his assertion that it neglects the environment and Americans’ health is flat out wrong.
“Environment America will fight for this bill to become law. This is the kind of green budget we have been waiting for.”