On May 22, 2019, the House Appropriations Committee voted to advance a bill to fund the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Interior (DOI) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. The bill includes $13.8 billion for DOI with EPA receiving approximately $9.5 billion, which represents an increase of nearly $700 million over its current funding level. The funding has more money earmarked for conservation, public lands, and wildlife management than current levels. For example, the National Wildlife Refuge System would receive an increase of $26 million. Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), was unsuccessful in his attempt to block the bill’s targeted increase in the Agency’s enforcement efforts. That amendment failed by a 22-30 vote.
The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (CWSRF and DWSRF, respectively) would be allocated $3.1 billion; this represents a $345 million increase over FY 2019 and $1.13 billion above the President’s request. Overall, the budget is approximately five percent higher than FY 2019 with a topline figure of $37.3 billion.
Conservation groups are pleased with this legislation. Lauren Daniel Davis, Vice President for Conservation Strategy at the National Wildlife Federation is quoted as saying, “We’re also pleased to see lawmakers increasing funding to the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and the EPA Environmental Justice activities. These commitments for the next fiscal year are important and show the House of Representatives is working to ensure our public lands, wildlife, waters, and natural resources endure for future generations.”
Kay Granger, (R-TX) is on record as saying the legislation spends too much money. Senate Republicans say that the House bills are not likely to be passed into law. They consider these bills ‘opening bids’ in what many expect to be long and contentious negotiations over many weeks until the ultimate FY 2020 spending package is agreed upon.