Congresswoman Barbara Lee Releases Statement on Appropriations Committee Approval of Fiscal Year 2021 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill

Washington, D.C.Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), member of the House Appropriations Committee, released the following statement on the approval of the Fiscal Year 2021 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of theInterior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other related agencies, including the Indian Health Service. 

In total, the draft bill includes $36.76 billion in regular appropriations, an increase of $771 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, and $5.11 billion over the President’s 2021 request. Additionally, the bill includes $15 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for investments in critical infrastructure. There is also an additional $2.35 billion of funding provided under the fire suppression cap adjustment. 

“In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, we are facing an even more dire challenge: climate crisis. We need to ensure we have the resources to fight it,” said Congresswoman Lee. “This bill provides critical funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, protects public lands, and invests in critical infrastructure. 

“During a time of great civil unrest over our nation’s history of inequality, we have a responsibility to provide a lens of justice in all legislation we consider. This legislation achieves that by investing in the health, safety and future of tribes and removes hateful Confederate monuments from our national parks. 

“Additionally, the bill provides $22 million to preserve the sites and stories of the civil rights movement.  It includes $3 million to preserve and memorialize the sites where Japanese Americans were confined during a shameful episode of our history.  It also includes $10 million for competitive grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) under the Historic Preservation Fund.  HBCUs have long been an avenue for Black and Brown youth to launch themselves into productive careers and forge their identity as leaders.  This grant program assists HBCUs to restore and preserve historic buildings on their campuses.”   

“Also, the bill includes important language on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math – also known as STEM – and the diversity in our Smithsonian institutions.  This language reinforces the bridge between Smithsonian’s curriculum and helping to close the achievement gaps for many low-income students and students of color. This bill furthers several Democratic priorities, like investment in clean air and water, protecting our public lands, biodiversity, and endangered species, and confronting climate change.” 

A summary of the Interior-Environment bill is here. The text of the bill,prior to adoption of amendments in full committee,ihere. The bill report is here.