The US House of Representatives voted 254-173 on 26 June 2009 to pass a $32.3 billion fiscal year (FY) 2010 appropriations bill (HR 2996) that funds the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Forest Service (USFS). This amount is just slightly below the President’s request, but includes several significant funding increases.

For the Department of the Interior, the House would provide $10.98 billion, $7 million less than the White House request and almost $900 million above FY 2009 levels. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) would receive approximately $1.64 billion, about $195 million above FY 2009 levels and just slightly below the President’s budget request. This funding would provide funding for ecological services, fisheries, migratory bird management, and the National Wildlife Refuge System above that requested by the President. The National Park Service (NPS) would receive $2.72 billion, which is $27 million above the President’s request.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) would receive just over $1.1 billion, $7.9 million above the President’s request and about $62 million above current levels. Within the USGS appropriation, $202.5 million is intended for biological research, $3.2 million above the budget request. The House spending plan would also increase by $5 million funding for USGS climate change science support to the USFWS, $4.2 million to expand research on changing Arctic ecosystems, and $2 million for Cooperative Research Units. An additional $69.2 million within USGS would be provided for science support.

The USFS would receive $308.6 million for forest and rangeland research, $8 million more than the Administration’s request.

The EPA would get $10.6 billion, $84 million above President Obama’s recommendation and nearly $3 billion more than the current funding level. The bill includes riders intended to shield agricultural interests from federal climate regulations, bans the EPA from requiring greenhouse gas reporting from factory farms and cattle stock yards. Overall, the spending bill would provide $420 million for climate adaptation and scientific efforts at EPA, $24 million above the President’s requested level and $189 million above the FY 2009 level. The bill would provide $849.6 million for science and technology, $59.6 million above the FY 2009 enacted level and $7.3 million above the President’s request. This includes significant increases over FY 2009 levels for research on clean air, clean water, human health and ecosystems, sustainability, and land protection. It also includes a 4 percent increase to the Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, the competitively awarded, peer-reviewed grant program that engages university and other extramural researchers in a number of scientific and engineering disciplines.

The report accompanying the bill noted that global climate research and water restoration were major concerns that needed to be addressed with the bill. As such, a $58.2 million appropriation for the global climate change research program was approved, which matched the request and is $17.5 million above the FY 2009 enacted level. The bill would provide the largest increase ever to support continued efforts to protect and restore the nation’s “Great Water Bodies.” This includes $475 million for the Great Lakes, including funds to implement the Great Lakes Legacy Act, and $28 million for the National Estuaries Grant Program, which would provide $1 million for each of the 28 National Estuaries.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill on 25 July 2009. At $32.1 billion, the Senate version of the bill would provide slightly less funding than the House bill. The Senate has included $130 million more for the Department of Interior than the House, although funding for the USGS is comparable between the two chambers. The EPA would receive $410 million less than the House, but still a $2.5 billion increase over FY 2009.

 


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