Date: February 23, 2022
To: The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, S-128, The Capitol, Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Richard Shelby, Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, S-146A, The Capitol, Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro, Chair, House Committee on Appropriations, H-307, The Capitol, Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member, House Committee on Appropriations, 1036 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515
Cc: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Leader Chuck Schumer
Dear Chairman Leahy, Vice Chairman Shelby, Chair DeLauro, and Ranking Member Granger:
On behalf of our collective millions of members and supporters, we write with full support of President Biden’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget Request and its increased funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA plays a critical role in ensuring that all Americans have access to clean air and water, and in minimizing the negative health and environmental effects of pollution. We urge you to approve EPA’s funding to the full $11.2 billion requested in the president’s budget proposal to help reverse years of underfunding and cutting programs, rebuild staff and departments, and continue the EPA’s mission of environmental protection. We also ask that harmful, anti-environmental policy provisions are kept out of the FY 2022 appropriations process.
Since EPA was established 50 years ago the environmental and public health threats have become more complex and numerous. Climate change is now impacting American’s daily lives and pocketbooks: climate-fueled extreme weather events cost Americans $145 billion in 2021 and affected more than 40 percent of the population. The pollution burden on low-income communities and communities of color is ever more clear.
Unfortunately, EPA’s budget has not kept pace with the increased demands on the
agency. EPA’s budget is 50% lower now than in 1980, adjusted for inflation. During the same period the US population has grown by 44% and discretionary spending has increased 48% (cite EPN Resetting the Course of EPA report August 2020)
Full funding for the President’s budget for EPA provides an opportunity to track and report on our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions and contributions to climate change, while also ensuring there is measurable progress in cleaning up the legacy pollution that low-income communities and communities of color have suffered with for far too long. Supporting these critical programs will better protect American families from pollution and guarantee the EPA has the resources needed to continue the mission and solve the climate crisis.
Additionally, the FY22 investments that are dedicated to advancing environmental justice, including President Biden’s Justice 40 initiative, must bring renewed focus to ensuring clean air and water for people most disproportionately burdened, including rural and low-income communities, communities of color, and other vulnerable communities. Millions of people lack access to these necessities, contributing to significant financial and health inequities. At a time when communities and states are fighting to rebuild their economies from the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government must focus on funding environmental safeguards to address the disproportionate burdens of pollution in areas throughout the U.S., clean up contaminated industrial sites and our air and water, and guarantee safe places to live and work. Furthermore, poison pill legacy riders that restrict EPA’s authority and cause undue harm should be kept out of government funding bills; attaching environmentally dangerous and controversial policy provisions to must-pass funding measures deceives the American public, and we urge you to fight against their inclusion on behalf of public health and the environment.
Restoring these communities and protecting public health requires innovative solutions for climate action and economic recovery, and a fully funded EPA with dedicated personnel is essential to delivering these solutions. We urge you to work together to improve health outcomes of all Americans, return to science-based public health policies, provide resources to ensure clean air and water for all communities, and work toward net-zero emissions nationwide by 2050.
Center for American Progress
Clean Water Action
Defend our Future
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Environmental Working Group
League of Conservation Voters
Moms Clean Air Force
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Union of Concerned Scientists
Voices for Progress
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
World Wildlife Fund