Bloomberg Law
Dec. 19, 2019, 7:06 PM

Spending Bill Boosting EPA, Clean Energy Headed to Trump’s Desk

Dean Scott
Dean Scott

The Senate passed a fiscal 2020 spending bill on Dec. 19 that would provide increases for the EPA and clean energy research.

The Senate approval of the package on a vote of 71-23 comes after the House passed the same measure Dec. 17. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it, averting a government shutdown after Dec. 20 when the current short-term spending bill expires.

Under the package, the Environmental Protection Agency would get $9.06 billion in fiscal 2020, a $208 million increase over its fiscal 2019 budget of $8.8 billion.

The EPA-Interior and energy and water spending bills were included in a package (H.R. 1865) covering eight of the 12 annual appropriations bills. The package also provides increases for Energy Department programs for clean energy, nuclear energy, and fossil fuels.

It would provide a $167 million increase to a total of $1.49 billion for nuclear energy research and development. It also would provide $230 million to start an advanced nuclear reactor demonstration program, of which $160 million would go to build two advanced nuclear reactors.

Total Energy Department funding would rise to $38.6 billion in fiscal 2020, a $2.9 billion increase above the fiscal 2019 enacted level. The package would also provide a $59 million increase to the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which conducts research into promising next-generation energy technologies.

Trump proposed to zero out funding for ARPA. The bill gives the agency $425 million in fiscal 2020.

A second separate fiscal 2020 spending package will cover science and the departments of Defense, Commerce, Justice, Financial Services, and Homeland Security.

Addressing PFAS

The two spending packages together would set aside over $200 million to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, chemicals that don’t break down in the environment and have been found in the drinking water of millions of Americans.

Included in that funding: $13 million for EPA’s multipurpose grants to help states and tribes in treatment, cleanup, and remediation of PFAS and other emerging contaminants; $12.8 million for EPA’s chemical safety and sustainability office to conduct research to help designate PFAS as hazardous waste; and $7 million in EPA grants for states and tribes to disburse to public water system supervisors.

The EPA-Interior bill also would provide $495 million in fiscal 2020 for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is funded by federal receipts from offshore oil and gas drilling. That’s a $57 million increase above the fiscal 2019 enacted level.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dean Scott in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at; Renee Schoof at