Chair McCollum’s statement on Appropriations Committee passing Fiscal Year 2020 Interior-Environment Funding Bill
Office of Representative Betty McCollum (DFL-MN-4)
On May 22 the Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, which includes $37.28 billion in funding, an increase of $1.73 billion over the 2019 enacted level and $7.24 billion over the President’s 2020 request. There is also an additional $2.25 billion of funding provided under the fire suppression cap adjustment.
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Chair Betty McCollum released the following statement:
“This Interior-Environment funding bill rejects cuts proposed by the Trump administration that would have put the interests of polluters over people. Instead, our $37.3 billion funding bill prioritizes investments that keep our communities safe and healthy, help us research, combat, and adapt to climate change, and honor our federal trust and treaty responsibilities to our Native American brothers and sisters. This bill is the product of hard work and collaboration, with input from Indian tribes, agency officials, Members of Congress, and the public.
“Funding in this bill will translate to cleaner and safer drinking water and cleaner air in communities across the country. Increases in funding for science and research will allow us to understand and address the impacts of climate change on our natural and cultural resources, ecosystems, and human health.
“We are protecting and preserving our landscapes and biodiversity by funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Endangered Species Act, and directing federal agencies to complete a canceled study to determine the environmental impacts of a proposed sulfide-ore mine near the Boundary Waters.
“Democrats are committed to taking on the environmental challenges facing our nation and the planet in a manner that protects the American people today and for the next generation.”
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey added:
“The Committee continues our work for the people with the Fiscal Year 2020 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which would make sound investments to protect the health and safety of Americans, preserve our rich cultural heritage, and conserve our environment for future generations. This bill marks a serious investment in these priorities, with much-needed increases after years of inadequate funding. The bill would fully fund the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and provide increases to address lead and other contaminants in drinking water. It would increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Heritage Partnership Program – programs that strengthen our country by enabling Americans of all ages to study the arts, culture, and history of our nation. And, recognizing that climate change is the greatest environmental crisis facing humanity, the bill would make critical investments in climate change science, increase production of renewable energy on public lands, enhance resilience to disasters, and begin to fulfill our trust and treaty obligations to Native Americans. The bill would honor our commitment to protect our families, care for our planet, and leave our country healthier than we found it.”
This bill contains provisions important to Minnesotans and to all Americans:
- Climate change: The bill significantly boosts funding for climate change research, tracking and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions, and energy-efficiency programs.
- EPA clean air and water programs: The bill provides $9.52 billion for the agency – a $672 million increase – for programs that keep our air and water clean and safe. Importantly, it also includes $18 million in additional funding for scientific and regulatory work on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), needed to establish a drinking water standard and cleanup standards. This amount more than doubles current funding levels for this work.
- Public lands: The bill provides $3.39 billion for the National Park System – $168 million more than last year – as well as language to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area from potential mining pollution.
- Arts and Humanities: This bill rejects the Trump administration’s proposal to eliminate National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, and instead provides $167.5 million each. The bill also includes $43.5 million for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, an increase of $2.2 million above the 2019 enacted level and $3.8 million above the President’s budget request.
- Indian Country: The bill invests more than $10 billion to support and strengthen Indian tribal self-determination, including $1 billion – the highest funding ever recommended – for the operation of Native education programs. We’re committed to honoring our trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations.
- Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): The bill provides $523.9 million for LWCF, including $244 million for the federal program and $280 million for state programs. The total is $85 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $491 million above the President’s budget request.
- National Recycling Strategy: The bill report contains language directing the EPA to develop, in collaboration with for-profit, non-profit, state and local governments, and other stakeholders, a national recycling strategy to strengthen and sustain the current system with recommendations for voluntary action to be reported to Congress.
- Wildland Fire Management (WFM): The bill provides $5.21 billion for WFM, which includes $2.25 billion in cap adjusted fire suppression funding. The total funding is $1.6 billion above the 2019 enacted level and $49 million above the President’s budget request.