Chair Pingree Statement to Rules Committee on Seven-Bill Appropriations Minibus

2021-07-26 16:02

Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01) today delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in support of an appropriate rule for the House to consider H.R. 4502, a minibus of seven fiscal year 2022 appropriations bills:

Chairman McGovern, Ranking Member Cole, and Members of the Rules Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the FY 2022 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. I want to thank the chair of the full committee, Ms. DeLauro, and extend my gratitude to her for the outstanding leadership she has provided this committee. For fiscal year 2022, the Subcommittee is recommending a total of $43.4 billion for the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill. This is an increase of $7.3 billion over last year’s enacted level, a 20 percent increase.

I’m proud this bill makes long-overdue investments to care for our planet, fight the climate emergency, and meet our trust obligations to tribal nations. The bill prioritizes the protection and preservation of our landscapes and biodiversity. It supports the administration’s initiatives on climate change, such as the Civilian Climate Corps, and affirms the role of science as the foundation for decision making. Climate change is causing more extreme weather events and drought conditions, as well as worsening existing problems like the spread of invasive species. These factors all contribute to an increasing threat of high-intensity wildfires in the West.

The Interior bill provides $5.7 billion for Wildland Fire Management and invests in programs to improve the health of our forests and make them more resilient. The bill also includes major investments to clean up pollution and protect human health and the environment. The bill provides $11.4 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, the highest funding level in the agency’s history. This bill boosts Superfund spending by 27 percent and will accelerate the pace of cleanup of toxic chemicals from the country’s most contaminated sites. It adopts a whole-of-government approach to address environmental justice and invests an unprecedented $248 million in these efforts.

Additionally, the bill provides $4 billion for grant programs to make drinking water and sewer system improvements, remove lead from our taps, improve air quality, and strengthen our recycling infrastructure. These grants have profound impacts on public health and the environment, but they also are economic drivers that create good paying American jobs.

Following our work in the CARES and American Recovery Plan Acts, this bill supports the Arts and Humanities by providing $201 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The cultural sector has been particularly devastated by COVID-19, and this funding will help to support relief and recovery for community organizations across the country.

Finally, this bill supports Native American families by investing in a strong and resilient Indian Country, including through education and health care programs. The bill invests $4 billion in Indian Affairs programs, including an additional $180 million to address climate change impacts. For Indian Health Services, the bill provides an additional $1.9 billion towards meeting Federal treaty and trust obligations for health care.

The investments in this bill will improve the lives of Americans and I urge my colleagues to support the bill. Again, I thank you and the Members of the Rules Committee for the opportunity to testify on H.R. 4502.

117th Congress