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President Biden’s Budget Tackles the Climate Crisis and Other Long-Standing Environmental Challenges

Apr 13, 2022

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The President’s 2023 budget provides $45 billion to combat the climate crisis while building a more resilient, advanced, and inclusive nation. This historic investment increases discretionary climate funding by nearly 60 percent compared to 2021 enacted levels. The investments outlined in this budget will help America reach our climate goals while leading on the global stage. By further investing in the nation’s power grids, water infrastructure, and public transportation, this budget builds on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) to further improve the lives of all Americans and lower costs for families. In addition to the programs described below, the President’s budget includes a deficit-neutral reserve fund for legislation pending in Congress that would make record-breaking investments to tackle the climate crisis, move the U.S. closer to a carbon neutral future, improve air and water quality, and spark innovation.

Supports economic revitalization while driving progress toward climate goals

The budget supports economic revitalization and capacity-building programs that help mitigate the everyday risks related to the climate crisis. Americans are already feeling the effects of climate-related disasters and environmental emergencies. This budget invests in projects that benefit every American in communities across the country, whether through establishing and supporting new, innovative industries or mitigating the effects of climate change.

$18 billion for programs to increase America’s resilience and adaptation to a changing climate – The budget recognizes the realities of the climate crisis and climate-related disasters and provides more than $18 billion for resilience and adaptation programs across the Federal government. It takes a whole-of-government approach and provides funding for such agencies as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These funds allow agencies to respond to and protect against future floods and storms. The budget includes investments in resilient housing, including $1.9 billion in rural housing loan and grant programs, as well as investments in the next generation of predictive technologies to forecast extreme weather events. The budget responds to increasing wildfire events, including an extra $13 million over 2021 enacted levels for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to improve its forecasting abilities when wildfire smoke presents hazardous situations for communities. It strengthens the federal firefighting workforce and supports the President’s promise that no federal firefighter will make less than $15 an hour.

$15 billion to support clean energy projects across agencies In addition to helping Americans weatherize their homes, supporting the transition to renewable energy, and increasing the United States’ share of the global clean technology market, the budget supports clean energy investments that create good-paying union jobs for American workers across the country. The budget provides more than $9 billion to support job creation in hard-hit legacy energy communities as they transition away from depending on fossil fuels for their economic growth. It supports programs and partnerships that create long-term economic opportunities for displaced workers and transforms economies in coal, oil and gas, and power plant communities. These initiatives include $100 million for the Department of Labor’s role in the POWER+ Initiative, a multi-agency initiative assisting communities in transitioning away from fossil fuels to sustainable industries of the future, while strengthening local economies.

Improves the lives and health of Americans through equitable access to safe water, clean air, and restored land

The budget prioritizes the health and well-being of all Americans by ensuring equitable access to clean water, clean air, and clean land. The budget funds initiatives across agencies to replace lead service pipes, reclaim abandoned mines and oil wells, and clean up contaminated sites. It does all this with a steady focus on environmental justice, investing in communities that have been historically ignored and ensuring all Americans benefit from these investments.

$4 billion for the EPA to provide Americans access to safe water To ensure all Americans live in safe and healthy communities, the budget invests $4 billion in water infrastructure projects, building on the $55 billion already provided in the IIJA to eliminate lead service lines and deliver clean water to American families. This includes $940 million to fully fund all grant programs authorized in the bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021. The budget also includes, for the first time, a government-wide inventory of lead pipe replacement funding, with information about eligibility and recipients.

$9 billion to clean up environmental damage in our communities – The budget provides crucial funds to clean up contaminated land, including $7.6 billion for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Environmental Management program, to clean up sites used for past nuclear weapons production; $1.2 billion for the EPA’s Superfund program, to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated land; and $215 million for the EPA’s Brownfields grants program, for communities to clean up and reuse contaminated properties safely. Because underrepresented and marginalized communities are more likely to be affected by the legacy of pollution, these funds will help ensure all families can live free from the harms of environmental damage, regardless of their zip code. By addressing contaminants that lead to greater cancer risk, these funds further support efforts like the Administration’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Funding to address the disproportionate negative impacts of the climate crisis on vulnerable communities The budget advances the President’s Justice40 commitment that at least 40 percent of the overall benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy reach vulnerable communities. Advancing equity for historically overburdened and underserved communities requires investments across multiple agencies. These investments include $150 million for six new grant programs for states, Tribal nations, and other institutions focused on reducing health impacts of environmental pollution; $198 million for the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program to update existing transportation infrastructure; and $671 million for the Department of the Interior (DOI) to support climate programs focused on Tribal nations.

Positions America as a global leader in combating the climate crisis

Combating the climate crisis requires global cooperation. The budget reinforces America’s leadership on the international stage by investing in our strengths in research and development so we can lead the next generation of climate innovation, while providing funds for projects worldwide. In addition to supporting the President’s goal to significantly reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, the investments described below will decrease our reliance on foreign, non-renewable resources and increase America’s energy independence, all while supporting American R&D ecosystems and the global energy transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.

$17 billion for climate science and innovations, including for cutting-edge, high-impact research and development – The budget includes more than $9 billion for DOE clean energy research, development, and demonstration projects, including $700 million for the Advanced Research and Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The budget proposes expanded authority for ARPA-E to allow the agency to better address innovation gaps and promote energy security. Among other goals, ARPA-E’s work supports the creation of revolutionary inventions and the further development of current technology that could reduce the need for foreign energy imports and enhance America’s energy independence and competitiveness.

$1 billion over ten years to kick-start the Global Clean Energy Manufacturing program – The budget proposes a $1 billion investment over ten years to launch a Global Clean Energy Manufacturing effort. This investment would let us work with our allies around the world to build resilient supply chains for the equipment necessary for clean energy projects. In addition to investing in the global clean energy supply chain, this investment would create economic opportunities for Americans and increase America’s share of the global clean technology market.

$11 billion in international climate finance to foster America’s leadership role on the global stage – These investments include a $1.6 billion appropriation to the Green Climate Fund, which finances adaptation and mitigation projects, and a $3.2 billion loan to the Clean Technology Fund, which finances clean energy projects. Both the Green Climate Fund and the Clean Technology Fund finance projects in developing countries, serving a critical role in combating and responding to the climate crisis across the globe.

Conclusion

The President’s budget envisions a technologically advanced, resilient, and equitable America that takes a leading role in the global task of combating the climate crisis. It invests in the American people today and builds a stronger America for tomorrow. It does this while making long-overdue reforms to modernize our tax code by eliminating fossil fuel tax preferences and exemptions while extending and enhancing incentives for clean energy, energy efficiency, and electricity transmission. The budget presents a fiscally responsible, equity-focused plan that benefits all Americans.