Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Full Committee Markup of FY 2020 Interior-Environment Funding Bill
Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill:
Thank you, Chair McCollum and Ranking Member Joyce, for your efforts on the bill before us. I also thank the subcommittee staff for their hard work.
The Committee continues our work for the people with the Fiscal Year 2020 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which would make sound investments to protect the health and safety of Americans, preserve our rich cultural heritage, and conserve our environment for future generations. This bill marks a serious investment in these priorities, with much-needed increases after years of inadequate funding.
The Environmental Protection Agency is charged with protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink. This bill would fully fund the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and provide increases to address lead and other contaminants in drinking water. It also provides additional funding for EPA to quickly establish drinking water and cleanup standards for PFAS chemicals.
EPA’s geographic programs serve to protect public health while also ensuring the health of our most important ecosystems. For example, investments in the Long Island Sound regional program has reduced levels of nitrogen in the water and improved the overall health of the watershed’s ecosystem as well as contributed to the regional economy. This bill would provide $20 million to build on that work.
This bill also would increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Heritage Partnership Program. These programs strengthen our country by enabling Americans of all ages to study the arts, culture, and history of our nation.
Finally, climate change is the greatest environmental crisis facing humanity. This bill would make critical investments in climate change science at EPA and USGS; increase production of renewable energy on public lands; build our infrastructure and manage our public lands to increase resiliency to storms, wildfires, and other disasters; and begin to fulfill our trust and treaty obligations to Native Americans.
The bill would honor our commitment to protect our families, care for our planet, and leave our country healthier than we found it. I urge support.