Chairwoman Lowey Statement at Subcommittee Markup of FY 2020 Interior-Environment Funding Bill

2019-05-15 11:10

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), 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 2020 bill:

Thank you, Chair McCollum and Ranking Member Joyce, for your efforts on the bill before us. I also want to thank the subcommittee staff for their hard work.

This week, we continue an orderly appropriations process aimed at getting the people’s business done on time. House Democrats are fighting to give every American a better shot at a better life.

Our bills break with the senseless austerity of recent years in favor of robust funding for initiatives that truly make a difference in the lives of working families.

With increased investments through this Committee, we can rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, protect our environment, and improve the health of Americans.

As stewards of the taxpayer dollar, this subcommittee is obligated to make sound investments that protect the health and safety of Americans, preserve our rich cultural heritage, and conserve our environment for the benefit of future generations.

The Fiscal Year 2020 Interior and the Environment Appropriations bill marks a serious investment in each of 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, as well as additional funding for EPA to quickly establish drinking water and cleanup standards for PFAS chemicals.

It includes $1.21 billion for the EPA Superfund program, to continue important work at sites across the country, including two in my district – the PCB cleanup of the Hudson River and the Magna Metals site that was added to the National Priorities List just two days ago.

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, contributing to both enhanced recreational and business opportunities. This bill would provide $20 million to build on that work.

Conservation is at the core of the Department of the Interior’s mission, and the bill increases funding for the Multinational Species Conservation Fund, which would enable the United States to lead the way in protecting threatened and endangered species world.

This bill also increases 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 that humanity has ever faced. This bill makes critical investments in climate change science at EPA and USGS, increases production of renewable energy on public lands, builds our infrastructure and manages our public lands to increase resiliency to storms, wildfires, and other disasters, and begins to fulfill our trust and treaty obligations to Native Americans.

We owe it to our children to leave this country safer and healthier. I urge support for this important bill.

116th Congress