The White House’s fiscal 2024 budget asks for $12 billion for the EPA, a 19% increase over its current enacted level and a record high amount that’s almost certain to be trimmed during congressional negotiations.
The money would be used to drive a wide range of President Joe Biden’s environmental priorities, such as winding down carbon emissions, cleaning up pollution, addressing environmental justice, and catching and penalizing violators.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s current enacted budget is $10.1 billion, its highest level since 2010. But that figure is also 14.7% lower than what Biden had requested. With Republicans now in control of the House, and Democrats holding only a narrow majority in the Senate, the fight over the EPA’s budget is likely to grow far more intense.
“Democrats’ one-party control spent $10.6 trillion dollars over just two years,” Republicans on the House Budget Committee tweeted in February. “This changes with a new majority.”
The request calls for the addition of more than 2,400 employees from 2022 levels to bring staffing to roughly 17,000.
Biden’s budget touts significant increases in fiscal 2024 for the administration’s environmental equity efforts, including $356 million for EPA Superfund cleanups, along with $2.5 billion available under the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure package (Public Law 117-58). The infrastructure package provided $3.5 billion to Superfund over five years for cleanups, in part to speed cleanups for frontline communities living in and around the sites.
If approved, the Biden budget request and funding under the infrastructure package would bring total Superfund cleanup funding to approximately $2.9 billion in 2024, up from $1.7 billion available in 2023.
Across various EPA programs, Biden’s budget plan would provide nearly $1.8 billion to support the agency’s environmental justice efforts, including Biden’s Justice40 effort, which calls for steering 40% of the overall benefits of clean energy, climate change, affordable housing, training and workforce development, and certain other federal funding toward poorer and marginalized populations disproportionately affected by pollution.
The EPA’s financial power has been turbocharged by both the infrastructure law and last year’s climate bill (Public Law 117-169). Both those laws poured tens of billions of dollars of new funding into the agency’s coffers for a wide range of programs, including $50 billion to improve water infrastructure and $1.5 billion for its brownfields program.
But much of that money has to be passed along to state and local governments, state agencies, nonprofit groups, and others in the form of grants.
The budget also proposes $64 million to for the EPA’s implementation of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020, which aims to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas.
The White House is requesting a 9.3% increase over fiscal 2023’s enacted level in the Interior Department’s budget, totaling $18.8 billion. That includes $5.7 billion for climate adaptation and resilience measures across the department, and, among other provisions, $181 million to accelerate renewable energy development on federal lands—an increase of $70 million.
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