Chair McCollum statement on passage of FY20 Interior-Environment conference agreement, appropriations minibus

Pictured: Representative Betty McCollum (DFL-MN-4).(Photo: mccollum.house.gov)

Interior-Environment agreement included in eight-bill appropriations minibus package

News Release

Office of Representative Betty McCollum (DFL-MN-4)

U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (DFL-MN-4), Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, released the following statement after the passage of the conference agreement for the $35.989 billion FY 20 Interior-Environment funding bill as part of an eight-bill minibus appropriations package, H.R. 1865:

“This conference report represents a year of hard work and a complete rejection of the destructive budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration. Instead, we invest billions in the health of our communities and the environment,” Chair McCollum said. “House Democrats are investing in protecting and preserving our public lands and natural resources, ensuring clean and safe drinking water and protecting air quality, and honoring the federal government’s trust and treaty responsibilities to Native American communities. Our bill directly confronts President Trump’s extreme climate denial and starts to reverse this administration’s disastrous climate policies and the risks they pose to the American people and our natural environment.

“I am disturbed that the White House intervened in negotiations and as a result, the agreement does not include the National Academy of Sciences study to examine the harmful impacts of sulfide-ore mining in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. That said, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior will still have to address the question of whether mining, especially copper-sulfide ore mining, is appropriate on National Forest System lands in the Rainy River Watershed.”

The $35.989 billion Interior-Environment funding bill is an increase of $437 million over the 2019 enacted funding level. Highlights of the bill include:

  • $9.06 billion for the EPA to ensure that all Americans have equal access to safe water to drink and clean air to breathe. This amount is $208 million higher than the 2019 enacted level, and $2.83 billion more than the president’s budget request.
    • $320 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $20 million increase over the 2019 enacted level.
    • $552 million for compliance monitoring and enforcement activities and grants – the first increase in a decade, to the tune of $24 million above the 2019 enacted level.
    • $2.77 billion for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds, rejecting President Trump’s proposed $782 million cut.
    • $43 million for PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) research to establish standards for drinking water and cleanup.
    • The conference report directs EPA to develop, in collaboration with for-profit, non-profit, state and local governments, and other stakeholders, a National Recycling Strategy to strengthen and sustain the current system with recommendations for voluntary action to be reported to Congress.
  • $13.5 billion for the Department of Interior to protect our national parks, endangered species, and natural and cultural resources. This is $545 million over the 2019 enacted level, and $2.1 billion over the president’s budget request. This funding includes:
    • $1.4 billion for the Bureau of Land Management. The bill contains language describing how the agency did not properly follow the process for the relocation of its headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Colorado. Any further reorganization will require the consent of the Appropriations committees in accordance with new statutory guidelines incorporated in this year’s bill.
    • $9.3 billion to support and strengthen Indian Country programs to honor our trust and treaty responsibilities and improve health care, education, and public safety within Native American communities.
    • $3.38 billion for the National Park Service, including $119 million for the Historic Preservation Fund and $16 million for Save America’s Treasures grants.
  • $162.25 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities to fund programs that enrich our culture, build community, and drive our local economy. This is the largest funding increase in a decade.
  • $1.6 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This funding includes:
    • $266 million for Endangered Species Act and related activities – the highest funding level in history.
    • $12.5 million for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs). The bill also contains language that prevents the obligation of $1 million until the Service reports to Congress on details on program changes, stakeholder engagement, and how the Service will ensure collaborative conservation in the areas where LCCs have been diminished or dismantled.
  • $495 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the highest-funded amount in nearly two decades.
  • $10.2 million for environmental justice, a 47 percent increase over the 2019 enacted level, and the highest funding level ever.
  • The bill also contains new policy provisions related to oil and gas drilling in order to increase transparency and safety.
  • Throughout the bill, funding has been included to address climate change and build resiliency, addressing the urgency of climate change and prioritizing science and research.

Full text of the appropriations minibus can be found here.

H.R. 1865 also contains the FY 20 Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA; Labor, Health, and Human Services; Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development; Energy and Water; State and Foreign Operations; Legislative Branch; and Military-Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bills, which contain important investments for the American people:

  • The Labor, Health, and Human Services funding bill includes $184.9 billion to invest in education, health care, mitigating poverty, and more. For the first time in more than 20 years, the bill includes $25 million for gun violence prevention research at the CDC and NIH.
  • The Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA funding bill includes $23.493 billion to fund important agricultural and food programs and services, including food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development, farm services, agricultural trade, financial marketplace oversight, and nutrition programs, both domestic and international.
  • The Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development funding bill invests $135.6 billion in America’s infrastructure, improves transportation safety, protects vulnerable populations, builds resilience to climate change, and expands access to safe, affordable, and fair housing.
  • The Energy and Water funding bill includes $48.3 billion to invest in clean and renewable energy, research and development, and water infrastructure development.
  • The State and Foreign Operations funding bill contains $54.7 billion to fund the State Department, international development, and other international programs and activities.
  • The Legislative Branch funding bill invests $5.049 billion to ensure the Congress has the resources to carry out its responsibilities in developing legislation, conducting oversight, and assisting constituents in their interactions with the federal government.
  • The Military-Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill contains $110.4 billion to provide for the construction of facilities to enable our military to fight current and emerging threats, to support increased troop levels, and to sustain services for military families.
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