On Friday, March 11, the White House released their initial budget request for fiscal year 2022. This proposed budget puts the need to address climate change and protect our coastal communities and infrastructure front and center.
After 10 years of record weather disasters, this is a welcomed change in strategy and investment. The Administration is asking for a record 25% increase in funding for the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), bringing their enacted budget from 2021 up to $6.9 billion with a focus on climate preparedness, coastal resilience, and improved climate observation and forecasting.
Additionally, the Administration proposed that the Environmental Protection Agency receive a $2 billion increase and the Department of Interior receive $2.4 billion over FY21 budgets. The proposed budget also includes the largest investment in environmental justice in history at $1.4 billion, with more than $900 million going towards a new Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice initiative at EPA.
“The initial budget is an expression of priorities and a roadmap for future policies. We believe the President is sending a strong signal to Congress and American people that investing in coastal resilience, climate change, and environmental justice provides opportunities to bring bi-partisan solutions to real-world problems impacting our bays and estuaries” said Daniel Hayden, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries.
The final budget is ultimately at the discretion of Congress, however, and line-item breakdowns of exactly how this funding will be distributed within the agencies remains to be seen.
Restore America’s Estuaries looks forward to working with members of the Appropriations Committee, as well as the Congressional Estuary Caucus, to ensure that adequate funding is geared toward solutions that benefit our coastal communities, economy, and environment.