House Advances Appropriations Bills to Invest in Environmental Justice, Communities, and Climate Resiliency

House Interior-Environment appropriations bill contains significant wins for environmental advocates


Phil LaRue, Earthjustice, (202) 797-4317

The U.S. House Committee on Appropriations advanced legislation to invest in initiatives and agencies that protect community health earlier this morning. As Black and Brown communities are leading the nation in rising for social justice and urging greater relief for those suffering disproportionately from the effects of COVID-19, the House’s proposals embrace the need for transformative change and boosting investment in clean air, clean water, wild spaces, environmental justice, and public health.

The following is a statement from Martin Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice:

“Climate change isn’t a hoax in the House of Representatives, and the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t, either. It’s clear from the work that the majority on the House Appropriations Committee are doing that at least one side of Capitol Hill is focused on the real needs our people are facing in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. We thank Chairwomen Lowey and McCollum and their colleagues on Appropriations for recognizing the crucial investments our country needs to make, and we look forward to seeing these proposals through to final passage in the House.”

Key Earthjustice Priorities in the FY2021 House Interior-Environment Appropriations Legislation:

  • Cleaner Water: The legislation provides $10 billion in new funding for protecting water and improving infrastructure through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund — more money than the entire Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed budget of $9.4 billion. It would thwart EPA funds for implementing, finalizing or enforcing the Trump administration’s latest efforts to gut the Clean Water Act.
  • Cleaner Air: The bill helps protect children and developing young minds by including language to secure the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The Trump administration has sought to undermine these protections, despite thousands of lives saved a year and overwhelming support from the public health community and environmental justice advocates.
  • Combating Toxic Chemicals: The legislation offers key new provisions to address how toxic PFAS chemicals harm our communities. The provisions include new guidelines to prioritize the identification and cleanup of PFAS sites across the country.
  • A Climate-Safe Future and Safer Communities: The legislation includes hundreds of millions of dollars for Diesel Emissions Reduction grants and billions of dollars more in funding for cleaning up Superfund and Brownfields sites.
  • Protecting Special Places from Oil and Gas Development: Thanks to Chairwomen Lowey’s and McCollum’s efforts, the bill helps protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, and the Outer Continental Shelf from dangerous and destructive oil and gas development.
  • Halting Dangerous Mining and Logging Operations: Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)’s provision in the bill will prevent taxpayers from subsidizing the commercial logging industry with new logging roads in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Thanks to Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) for advocating for this Tongass provision. Subcommittee Chairwoman Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) provision will thwart the process for a massive copper mine on the edge of the Boundary Waters, the most visited wilderness areas in the country.
The Navajo Generating Station looms in the background, near Page, Ariz.
The Navajo Generating Station looms in the background, near Page, Ariz. The bill helps protect children and developing young minds by including language to secure the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which places limits on hazardous air pollution emitted by power plants. (Darcy Padilla)

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