McCollum on Subcommittee Passage of FY 21 Interior-Environment Funding Bill
Led by Chair Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.), the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies today approved its fiscal year 2021 bill. In total, the draft bill includes $36.76 billion in regular appropriations, an increase of $771 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, and $5.11 billion over the President’s 2021 request. Additionally, the bill includes $15 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for investments in critical infrastructure. There is also an additional $2.35 billion of funding provided under the fire suppression cap adjustment. The bill next heads to the full Appropriations Committee for markup on Friday, July 10.
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.
The bill invests in:
- Environmental Protection: $9.38 billion for the EPA, increasing funding by $318 million, with $3.58 billion for EPA’s core science and environmental program work and $15 million for Environmental Justice activities.
- Public Lands: $13.83 billion for the Department of the Interior, increasing funding by $304 million, with $1.3 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, $1.6 billion for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and $3.22 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:
- $2.76 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds;
- $189 million for targeted grants for drinking water contaminants and wastewater treatment for lead, nitrates, and other health hazards;
- $90 million for Brownfields cleanups; and
- $12.9 million in additional funding for EPA for scientific and regulatory work on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), needed to establish drinking water and cleanup standards.
- Upholding federal commitments to our Native American brothers and sisters:
- $6.5 billion for the Indian Health Service; and
- $3.5 billion for Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and Office of the Special Trustee.
- Arts and Humanities: The bill invests $170 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, an increase of $7.75 million above the 2020 enacted levels and a rejection of the President’s budget request proposal to eliminate the agencies.
*Note: In FY 2021, Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) allocations will shift from discretionary to mandatory appropriations. For clarity, comparisons are for non-LWCF programs.
Additionally, the bill contains provisions important to Minnesotans and to the American people:
- Removing Confederate commemorative works: This bill includes language requiring the National Park Service to remove all Confederate commemorative works. It also includes language authored by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries that prohibits funds for the purchase or display of the Confederate flag in national parks, with the exception of specific circumstances where flags provide historical context.
- Policy provisions that protect our environment now and for future generations:
- A provision to prohibit Twin Metals mine plan within the Rainy River Watershed of the Superior National Forest near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
- A provision to block oil and gas drilling off the coasts of states like Florida, California, and Maine.
- Provisions to protect the pristine wilderness of Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuge and the Tongass National Forest.
- A provision to end the issuance of permits to import sport-hunted trophies of elephants and lions from Tanzania, Zimbabwe, or Zambia.
Chair McCollum released the following statement:
“Last year, the Democratic Majority in the House was finally able to secure significant new investments in environmental protection and land conservation, after years of budget cuts and neglect under a Republican Congress and the Trump administration. For FY 2021, we are building upon last year’s successes to advance the priorities of the American people – ensuring we have clean air and water to protect our communities’ health, protecting our public lands and endangered species, and taking meaningful actions to address climate change.
“We are committed to ensuring that all Americans have fair and equal access to the opportunities that allow them to pursue their dreams, including honoring the federal government’s commitments to our tribal partners by investing in education, infrastructure, and health care in Indian Country.
“Finally, House Democrats have been tirelessly working to help American families overcome the ongoing difficulties posed by the coronavirus pandemic and recognizing the need to root out the systemic racism and inequities in our society. This bill faces these challenges head on.
“Our public spaces tell the story of who we are and what we value. Confronting the truth of our history and acknowledging the work yet ahead of us to right past wrongs, we will remove Confederate symbols which continue to be used today to intimidate and terrorize millions of our fellow Americans.”