Committee Approves $25.6 Billion Reconciliation Measure to Fund Climate Corps, Coastal Protection, Wildfire Management, Tribal & Territorial Needs

Washington, D.C. – The House Natural Resources Committee, led by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), today approved its piece of the 10-year budget reconciliation package now before the House of Representatives. The markup, which began on Sept. 2, saw a second full day of debate and concluded in a 24-13 vote to approve the measure. All relevant documents are publicly available online through the Committee Repository.

Among other measures, the Committee approved historic investments in protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf from future fossil fuel drilling, paving the way for more sustainable economic development in both areas.

The markup process saw Democrats unite behind a wide array of other popular measures, including investing billions of dollars in climate mitigation; raising billions of dollars through new fossil fuel fees and royalties on the extraction of public resources; and investing in health infrastructure for Indian Country and the U.S. Territories. After two days of votes and debate, the majority voted as a bloc to approve the final measure.

Formally, the Committee voted to adopt Grijalva’s amendment in the nature of a substitute (ANS), a common legislative vehicle that made various technical corrections to the originally introduced version of the bill. The ANS that Grijalva introduced at today’s markup session included nine Republican amendments, most of which were approved at the Sept. 2 portion of the markup.

The Committee earlier this month published a pair of explainers on how the measure raises new public money and how it directs investments in job creation, environmental protection and other public benefits. With minor changes, the ANS maintained the funding and revenue levels presented in those explainers.

Among other pieces of the measure, the Committee voted to invest:

  • $9.5 billion for coastal and Great Lakes restoration and climate resiliency projects
  • $3 billion to support the Civilian Climate Corps through the Department of the Interior
  • $2.5 billion to clean up abandoned hardrock mines
  • $2 billion for Indian water rights settlements over the next decade and $3.7 billion each decade thereafter
  • $2 billion for Indian Health Service health facility construction, maintenance, and improvement
  • $1.15 billion for emergency drought relief
  • $1 billion for tribal climate resilience and adaptation
  • $993 million for  health infrastructure in U.S. territories
  • $900 million for wildfire management
  • $500 million for tribal housing improvements
  • $500 million for a Tribal Civilian Climate Corps
  • $250 million for Salton Sea projects
  • $200 million for tribal public safety and justice
  • $225 million for climate resilience and restoration
  • $100 million for mitigating climate-induced weather events
  • $100 million for tribal wildfire management
  • $100 million for large-scale water recycling
  • Hundreds of millions more for urban parks and increasing childhood outdoor access

The Committee voted to raise public money through:

  • Establishing a hardrock mineral royalty, which could raise around $2 billion over 10 years
  • Establishing a hardrock mineral reclamation fee, which could raise around $200 million over 10 years
  • Increasing the annual hardrock mining claim maintenance fee, which could raise nearly $800 million over 10 years
  • Directing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to hold offshore wind lease sales in federal waters around American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Restoring DOI’s authority to hold offshore wind lease sales in federal waters in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
  • Increasing outdated fossil fuel royalty rates and extending royalties to methane emissions
  • Ending noncompetitive leasing and charging annual fees for the extraction of fossil fuel public resources
  • Strengthening bonding standards and charging fees on offshore fossil fuel pipelines and idled oil and gas wells; and
  • Increasing civil and criminal penalties, ending so-called fossil fuel royalty relief and requiring companies to pay for annual inspection costs.

The measures combined are expected to raise billions of dollars in new revenue over the next decade. A formal estimate is forthcoming from the Congressional Budget Office.

Chair Grijalva and Committee Democrats have worked tirelessly to elevate and respond to the environmental justice needs of communities that have been historically overlooked or ignored. The Committee worked to address these needs throughout the reconciliation language approved today.

“We’re facing serious economic and environmental challenges, and today this Committee addressed them with major investments across the board that will build a more sustainable economy,” Grijalva said today. “We understand that business as usual isn’t solving our problems, and this measure responds to real public needs in a way that meets the moment. The health of our economy, our environment and our way of life depend on the budget decisions Congress makes over the next few weeks. The Democratic Party is united behind investing in millions of American jobs and putting us on a more stable long-term economic and environmental path. This Committee is proud to have done its part today to build a more livable future for all of us.”

Republicans claimed throughout the process that investing in a more sustainable economy is dangerous, unpopular and inappropriate – claims that public polling, economic projections and reams of climate data have exhaustively refuted.

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Media Contact: Adam Sarvana

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