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Chair Pingree Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Chair of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Appropriations Committee’s markup of the fiscal year 2023 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies bill:

I am pleased to present the fiscal year 2023 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill, which would provide a total of $44.8 billion dollars.

This is an increase of $6.8 billion dollars over last year’s enacted level, which is an 18 percent increase.

Last year, we made unprecedented investments to fight the climate crisis, return science as the foundation for decision-making, dedicate the highest level of federal funding to the arts and humanities ever, and continue our commitment to tribal nations.

This bill continues to build on those successes. Through the investments made in this bill, our country will be better positioned to confront the climate crisis. Just weeks ago, we witnessed Yellowstone, America’s first national park, experience devastating flooding that triggered mudslides, resulting in its emergency closure and leaving damage that will take years to rebuild. This tragedy underscored how vulnerable our ecosystems and species are to the impacts of climate change. That is why the investments in this bill, such as the 15 percent increase for the land management agencies, will be meaningful for climate adaptation and resiliency efforts on our public lands.

The bill also invests in renewable energy, both on and offshore, to provide opportunities for growth in this sector – an essential step towards achieving conventional energy independence.

And we make historic investments for science and environmental protection, providing the funding necessary to build a strong EPA.

In addition to these critical investments to protect our natural resources, the bill also includes strong funding for cultural resources by fostering the Arts and Humanities. The bill provides $414 million for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. These funds benefit all of our districts and are a positive tool for economic development, education, and community building.

And finally, this bill supports Native American families by investing in a strong and resilient Indian Country, including through education and health care programs. The administration proposed to shift Indian Health Service accounts to mandatory funding in fiscal year 2023; however, this shift requires legislative action by the authorizing committee, the House Committee on Natural Resources. In the absence of that legislation, I have included discretionary funding in this bill to ensure that there is no risk of a disruption in health care while that process is underway. This is a strong bill. Through its investments, the Interior bill takes a whole-of-government approach to securing a safe and habitable world for future generations. 

I urge my colleague’s support and yield back.

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