Chair DeLauro Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2022-06-29 15:01

WASHINGTON —Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2023 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill:

Thank you, Chair Pingree, Ranking Member Joyce, and Members of the subcommittee for your work on the bill before us.

I am proud of this bill, which continues our commitment to reversing decades of disinvestment that have created an unfair economy – one that has catered to big corporations and the wealthy at the expense of our environment and middle class, working families, and vulnerable Americans for far too long.

This bill before us builds on our work in the 2022 government funding package by confronting climate change, strengthening infrastructure on tribal lands, and ensuring access to safe drinking water, all while creating good-paying jobs to enact the change our communities need. It was informed by nine hearings dedicated to learning how to best protect the health and wellbeing of our environment and our communities on everything from the changing needs of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior to necessary investments in the arts and humanities. 

This bill, and the transformative investments within it, come at a pivotal time. We are in the middle of a climate crisis fueling conflicts over scarce resources, forcing families from their homes, and increasing human suffering. With this bill, we confront this crisis by continuing to fund the backbone of our policy making. With $11.5 billion for the EPA, we are strengthening the restoration and preservation of our bodies of water, ensuring safe drinking water and wastewater infrastructure all over the nation, and cleaning up contaminated lands.

Included in this funding are resources for the restoration of the Long Island Sound, a project my constituents rely on and one that is near and dear to me. With $40 million, an increase of $8.6 million for these efforts, we are preserving one of Connecticut and this nation’s most critical natural resources.

And with nearly $101 million for Renewable Energy Programs, we are growing production of the clean energy sources so critical to increasing our energy independence and fighting climate change.

At the same time, the bill expands environmental enforcement efforts so that we are equipped to continue cracking down on our nation’s biggest polluters, often big corporations who benefit financially while leaving vulnerable families to pay the consequences. We know all too well that our most vulnerable suffer the most in the face of crises of all types. This is especially true of the impact that the climate crisis has had on people of color and historically underserved communities in this nation, which is why this bill provides over $300 million to advance environmental justice efforts and invest in the communities overburdened by disproportionate levels of pollution. This is not only the right thing to do, but it makes us more resilient as we tackle the climate crisis on all fronts.

This bill strengthens our commitment to supporting those who have been neglected for far too long in various ways, including by ensuring we have the funding to live up to our responsibility to Native American communities and to build a strong and resilient Indian Country. We do this with $4.4 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Office of the Special Trustee. We also invest over $8 billion in the Indian Health Service to provide the funds for medical and public health services on Tribal lands.

As we serve Native communities all over our nation, we also invest in the preservation critical to honoring our past and strengthening our future. We preserve our public lands, parks, forests, and our biodiversity as we protect threatened and endangered species and their habitats. At the same time, we are dedicating the highest-ever level of funding to the arts and humanities as we ensure our cultural and historic heritage is preserved.

Overall, the investments in the restoration of our environment and in renewable energy development create good-paying American jobs while building the greener economy we so desperately need. This bill recommits to what we have known to be true and necessary for a long time: that as we fight climate change, our workers and our economy will be strengthened with the creation of the good-paying, green jobs of the future.

This bill is so central to everything we hold dear. We ensure a safe and healthy planet. We commit to strengthening the Native communities whose treatment stands as a stain on our history. We preserve our culture and environment. And in the process, we support American workers and the middle class by creating a better, greener, and more revitalized economy. I am very proud of the bill.

Before I end these remarks, I want to say a thank you to the Subcommittee staff for their hard work. On the majority side: thank you Rita Culp, and your team: Jocelyn Hunn, Janet Erickson, Tyler Coe, Farouk Ophaso, and Marcell Caldwell.  And on the minority side, I want to thank: Kristin Clarkson and Darren Benjamin.

Again, I thank Chair Pingree and Ranking Member Joyce and urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

117th Congress