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WASHINGTON, March 9, 2022 — The Democratic-controlled Congress today released the final appropriations bill to fund fiscal year 2022, which began five months earlier.
Because of inflation, the bill’s modest increases to agency budgets are in fact a cut in real dollars from the previous year. The Environmental Protection Agency received an increase of just 3% — far less than President Biden’s request, which would have addressed a decade of spending cuts by Republicans. The Department of the Interior received a nearly 5% increase, which is hundreds of millions less than what the president requested.
Funding for endangered species would be left virtually unchanged, with funding for the recovery of the nation’s 1,800 endangered species increasing just $3 million, or $1,600 per species. Funding to address the 400 species still waiting for protection would remain frozen at last year’s level. A rider to prevent the listing of the sage grouse remains for another year even as the bird continues its slide towards extinction.
“This budget is an environmental catastrophe and a colossal failure of leadership by the Democratic establishment,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. ”Status quo funding for the EPA and Department of the Interior in the face of the climate and extinction crises is a serious blow to hopes for a livable planet and abundant wildlife for the next generation. It’s good that Sen. Leahy is retiring, as he’s clearly not up to the task of protecting our environment for all people in this nation. We only hope that Chairwoman DeLauro and Speaker Pelosi consider retiring as well in light of this travesty.”
The bill would prohibit the EPA from addressing any emissions from the livestock industry despite the clear scientific evidence that livestock are a massive source of greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA would also continue to be forced to consider dirty biomass energy as carbon neutral.
The Forest Service would receive even more funding for harmful commercial logging while the Bureau of Land Management would receive an additional $15 million for fossil fuel development on public lands.
No federal agency would be able to regulate the use of lead ammunition, despite a recent scientific paper concluding that half of America’s bald eagles continue to be poisoned every year by lead ammunition.
Meanwhile, the legislation fails to rescind more than $1 billion in leftover funding for building the Trump’s border wall. This will ensure that many more miles of borderlands are irreparably harmed by pointless border wall construction activities by the Department of Homeland Security.
“The few breadcrumbs thrown to environmental priorities simply can’t compete with the overwhelming financial and policy support Congress keeps doling out to special interests,” said Hartl. “Budgets are a reflection of our values, and this one clearly shows the environment is just not important to far too many politicians.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.