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

2022-06-21 16:35

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2023 bill:

Thank you, Chair Pingree, and thank you Ranking Member Joyce, and the Members of the Interior-Environment Subcommittee, for your work on the bill before us. And let me also say thank you to the subcommittee staff for your hard work in bringing us to this day.

With the passage of the 2022 government funding package, we began to reverse decades of disinvestment in the programs that protect our air and water, our natural resources, and our biodiversity. Instead of catering to the biggest corporations and billionaires who often profit at the expense of our environment and the middle class, our working families and the vulnerable, we are introducing a bill to protect our environment and the Americans who need us most. Bold and lasting solutions require continued and sustained investments, which is why I am so proud that this bill builds on last year’s great achievements.

To confront the climate crisis, this bill follows the science and develops common-sense standards to curb pollution with $11.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We are giving EPA the funds it needs to restore and preserve our bodies of water, to ensure safe drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and to clean up contaminated lands.

We are also increasing funding for Renewable Energy Programs to grow production of clean energy sources.

I am particularly glad that the restoration of the Long Island Sound is funded at $40 million, an increase of $8.6 million. The Long Island Sound is one of Connecticut’s most critical natural resources, and this is a project that my constituents rely on.

As we invest in rebuilding and sustaining this critical infrastructure, we are turning this moment of great challenge and uncertainty into one of opportunity with unparalleled investments that will create American jobs and build a greener economy. We do not have to choose between supporting American workers and protecting our environment for the next generation. We can and we must do both.

And as we fight climate change, we must simultaneously recognize what the past two years have further highlighted – that people of color and historically underserved communities are hardest hit when disasters of all kind strike. We know this to be especially true of climate change, which is why we provide $301 million to advance environmental justice efforts that will address the unacceptable levels of pollution these communities face.

I am also glad that this bill invests in a strong and resilient Indian Country, which will increase access to quality health care and education. With $8.1 billion for the Indian Health Service, we are providing the funds needed for direct medical and public health services in Tribal areas. We are also honoring the federal government’s responsibilities to Native Americans with $4.4 billion for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Education, and the Office of the Special Trustee. This matters, and it ensures we are upholding our commitment to care for those pushed aside for too long. 

At the same time, this bill invests in the cultural, historic, and biodiversity preservation so critical to our nation’s past and our future. We are providing increased funds for the programs that protect our public lands, our parks, and forests and revive the arts and humanities with historic funding, while ensuring they are preserved for generations to come.

This bill creates a better and a greener economy, it confronts climate change, it supports Native American communities, and it fosters equity. I am so proud that, taken together, the investments in this bill ensure a safer and a healthier planet as we revitalize our economy and preserve our cultural heritage.

And with that, once again let me say thank you to Chair Pingree and to Ranking Member Joyce for their work on this bill. I urge my colleagues to support it.

117th Congress