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Chair McCollum Statement on Passage of $36.107 Billion FY 21 Interior-Environment Bill, Appropriations Omnibus

December 21, 2020
Press Release
Interior-Environment agreement included in 12-bill appropriations omnibus package

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, released the following statement after the passage of the conference agreement for the $36.107 billion FY 21 Interior-Environment funding bill as part of the 12-bill appropriations omnibus package, H.R. 133:

“The final $36.107 billion FY 21 Interior-Environment Appropriations bill represents a year of hard work, a complete rejection of the extreme cuts proposed by the Trump administration, and the largest investment in our environment and our communities in a decade,” Chair McCollum said. “These investments move us forward – by allocating resources in ways that keep our communities safe and healthy, protect and preserve our landscapes and biodiversity, and fund the arts and humanities. The bill also moves us in the right direction to meet the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to our Native American brothers and sisters, increasing funding for Indian health care, education, and more. This bill reflects the priorities of the American people.”

This legislation makes significant investments in protecting and preserving public lands, building resilience to climate change, strengthening America’s environmental workforce, and ensuring access to safe drinking water. Highlights include:

  • Environmental Protection: 
    • $9.24 billion for the EPA, increasing funding by $180 million, with $3.49 billion for EPA’s core science and environmental program work and $12.5 million for Environmental Justice activities.
  • Strengthening Federal Commitments to our Native American Brothers and Sisters:
    • $6.2 billion for the Indian Health Service, a $189 million increase; and
    • $3.5 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and Office of the Special Trustee, a $171 million increase.
  • Public Lands: 
    • $13.7 billion for the Department of the Interior, increasing funding by $186 million, with $1.27 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, $1.58 billion for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and $3.12 billion for the National Park Service.
  • Clean and Safe Drinking Water: The bill will make communities safer and healthier by providing investments to ensure that all Americans have access to clean and safe drinking water:
    • $2.77 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds;
    • $91 million for Brownfields cleanup grants; and
    • $53 million in additional funding at EPA for scientific and regulatory work on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), needed to establish drinking water and cleanup standards.
  • Cultural Preservation: The bill includes $144 million for the Historic Preservation Fund, $26 million above the fiscal year 2020 enacted level and $104 million above the President’s budget request. Within this amount, the bill includes:
    • $71 million for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices,
    • $25 million for Save America’s Treasures grants,
    • $21 million for competitive grants to preserve the sites and stories of underrepresented community civil rights, and
    • $10 million for grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
  • Arts and Humanities: 
    • $167.5 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, an increase of $5.25 million above the 2020 enacted levels and a rejection of the President’s proposal to eliminate the agencies.
  • International Conservation:
    • $15.4 million, a program increase of $6 million, for Forest Service International;
    • $23 million, an increase of $4.2 million, for U.S. Fish and Wildlife International Affairs.

Chair McCollum continued:

“This bill makes many crucial investments, but I am disappointed that Senate Republicans and President Trump refused to include House-passed provisions to remove hateful Confederate symbols from our national parks as a step toward confronting our nation’s legacy of racial injustice. They also insisted on removing language passed by House Democrats to protect our public lands and waters, including a one-year halt on advancing a sulfide-ore copper mine project adjacent to the Boundary Waters. I look forward to working with the Biden administration to pursue these critical provisions in the next Congress.”  

The text of the legislation can be found here. A summary of critical FY 21 appropriations provisions is here. More details on the appropriations provisions, including Interior-Environment (Division G), can be found here. Read Congresswoman McCollum’s statement on the $900 billion COVID relief package here.