House Appropriations for FY 2023 would fund RAE priorities
By Jack Minzer
Last month, the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), has completed its markup sessions on a series of appropriations bills for the upcoming fiscal year. These bills contain hundreds of millions of dollars for RAE priorities. These investments will advance efforts by federal agencies to pursue coastal restoration and resilience.
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies ($96.2 million):
- $57.5 million to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Habitat Conservation and Restoration to fund competitive grants to invest in coastal resilience and habitat restoration, which includes removing dams and barriers, reconnecting coastal wetlands, and rebuilding coral and oyster reefs.
- $7.5 million to the National Estuarine Research Reserves System (NERRS) to support procurement, acquisition, and construction of land to expand, improve, and protect estuaries.
- $31.2 million to the National Estuarine Research Reserves System (NERRS) to support operations, research, and facilities to better protect, preserve, and understand estuaries.
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies ($745.2 million):
- $679.9 million to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Geographic Programs to support environmental justice implementation and training grants, and associated program support costs. This includes $54.5 million for the San Fransisco Bay Geographic Program. These programs support efforts to improve water quality, protect the local ecosystem, and improve coastal infrastructure.
- $50.9 million to the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program (NEP) to further the vital work they do to conserve and protect twenty-eight important estuaries and their surrounding watersheds. This bill provides $800 thousand to each NEP. Additionally, the bill provides $4 million dollars to fund competitive grants for estuary protection.
- $14.4 million to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program to protect and conserve fish and wildlife habitats.
Defense ($175 million):
- $175 million to the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI) to support its efforts to conserve land and habitats buffering military installations and improve the water quality and coastal resilience of nearby watersheds. This includes living shoreline projects.
RAE applauds these strides to combat climate change and protect vulnerable estuaries and coastal wetlands. We are excited to see such significant investments in coastal resilience, which will increase carbon sequestration and decrease the negative impacts of severe weather, and ecosystem conservation, which will benefit both wildlife and people. We look forward to seeing a final budget that maintains and strengthens funding for these priorities, as well as other programs to invest in blue carbon and increase resources for underserved communities.
Jack Minzer is a rising junior studying Political Science at American University. He is from Long Island, N.Y. and is interning with Restore America’s Estuaries this Summer.