FY2020 Interior, Environment Appropriations Bill Approved by Subcommittee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies today approved a $35.8 billion measure to fund the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Indian Health Service, and other agencies.  An additional $2.25 billion for wildfire suppression activities made available by the wildfire cap adjustment is also included.


The recommendation totals $35.8 billion and provides funding to address National Park maintenance backlogs and environmental and conservation programs, while also increasing funding for wildland firefighting and rejecting proposed cuts to important Indian programs.  The bill includes $20 million in additional funding to help states address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and remediation.  The FY2020 appropriations measure is scheduled to be considered by the full Senate Committee on Appropriations on Thursday. 


“In this bill, we invest in programs aimed to protect our land, water, and people, enable infrastructure projects to boost the economy, and help communities provide vital, basic services that perhaps many take for granted. We have also worked hard to shape this bill so that it reflects the priorities of members on both sides of the aisle,” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.  “I’m proud of our good, bipartisan work to ensure that this Interior appropriations bill directs federal resources where they are needed most providing much-needed investments in communities all across the nation.”



Bill Highlights:


U.S. Department of the Interior – $13.717 billion overall for the Interior Department, including full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.


Bureau of Land Management (BLM) – $1.399 billion for the BLM, an increase of $53 million above the FY2019 enacted level.  Funds provided ensure a robust and responsible energy and minerals development program and make important investments in improving public land management.   


National Park Service (NPS) – $3.36 billion for the NPS, an increase of $133 million above the FY2019 enacted level.  This funding level includes important increases for construction backlog, maintenance, and new park units.  $20 million is included for the Centennial Challenge grant program, which provides matching grants to address backlog maintenance and other needs in the national parks.  The bill increases funding for the Heritage Area program to $21.944 million.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – $1.63 billion for the FWS, which is $52.7 million above the FY2019 enacted level.  Important program increases include funding for the State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), and combatting Asian carp in our nation’s waters.  The bill also provides funds to maintain continued operation of fisheries and continues the prohibition on listing the greater sage-grouse as an endangered species.


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – $1.2 billion for the USGS, an increase of $49 million above the FY2019 enacted level.  Within this amount, there are important program increases for energy and mineral resources, natural hazards, water resources, and deferred maintenance and capital improvement projects.


Office of Surface Mining (OSM) – $257.5 million for the OSM, $2 million above the FY2019 enacted level.  The bill continues a $115 million pilot program to help address reclamation and economic development in coal country and, of that, $10 million is included to address reclamation and economic development in Indian Country.


Indian Health Service (IHS) – $6.041 billion for the IHS, an increase of $237.5 million above the FY2019 enacted level.  Within these amounts, contract support costs are fully funded and leasing costs are included at current estimates along with $84 million for the staffing of new health care facilities.  An additional $24 million is included for the facilities program that funds priority health care facilities construction and sanitation facilities construction along with a $5 million increase for medical equipment.


Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education (BIA/BIE) – $3.13 billion for the BIA and BIE, an increase of $50.5 million above the FY2019 enacted level.  Within this amount, Contract Support Costs are fully funded and important increases included in previous years for human services, natural resource programs, and education construction are continued.  An additional $7.8 million is included for public safety and justice programs along with a $5 million increase for public safety and justice construction.


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – $9.011 billion for EPA, an increase of $161 above the FY2019 enacted level.  Funding is focused on returning the agency to its core mission of environmental cleanup.  Funding for State and Tribal Assistance Grants is increased by $116 million, which includes $20 million to help states address PFAS contamination and remediation.  The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds are funded at $2.765 billion and $41.5 million is provided for newly authorized grant programs included in the America’s Water Infrastructure Act.  Additionally, the Water Infrastructure Finance Act program is funded at $73 million, which will enable billions in loans to address additional water infrastructure challenges. 


U.S. Forest Service (USFS) – $7.471 billion for the USFS including investments in funding for improved health and management of our nation’s forests, as well as increased funding to fight wildfire.  A $19 million increase for hazardous fuels reduction is provided to help prevent catastrophic wildfires, particularly in the wildland-urban interface. Increases are also provided to increase State and volunteer firefighting capacity.


Wildland Firefighting – $5.167 billion to fight wildland fire, which is $1.22 billion above the FY2019 enacted level.  The bill provides the combined $1.394 billion in base wildland fire suppression funding, plus $2.25 billion in additional wildfire suppression funding from the wildfire cap adjustment.  Of the funds made available from the wildfire cap adjustment, $1.95 billion is for the U.S. Forest Service and $300 million is for the Department of the Interior. 


Smithsonian Institution – $1.04 billion, $4 million above the FY2019 enacted level for the Smithsonian Institution.  Funding is provided to complete the National Air and Space Museum renovation.


National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities (NEA/NEH) – $157 million for both NEA and NEH.  This is a $2 million increase above the FY2019 enacted levels for each endowment.


Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) – $2.994 million, an increase of $244,000 above the FY2019 enacted level, for the CEQ.