Committee Republicans Question CEQ Chair on Ballooning Budgets, Radical Initiatives
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 22, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight hearing on the Council of Environmental Quality's (CEQ) Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget request and policy initiatives. Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) released the following statement in response:
"CEQ is the perfect example of unchecked government bureaucrats abusing their mission and amassing massive amounts of power over decades of misguided policy initiatives. While originally established for a legitimate purpose, CEQ has mutated into a radical policy arm of the Biden administration's social justice and eco-agenda. Time and time again, when President Biden issues an executive order to promote his radical climate goals and war on American energy production, CEQ is called up like a mercenary to force the administration’s executive overreaches into reality. From the creation of the White House Office of Environmental Justice to increasing regulatory burdens on critical infrastructure projects, CEQ has entirely departed from its initial mission and it's time they answer for their actions. After repeated requests by Committee Republicans for CEQ to appear before us, today provided committee members the opportunity to attempt to understand how this once small advisory group has morphed into an attack dog of the Biden administration fueled by a cash infusion of over twenty times their normal operating budget through the partisan and mislabeled Inflation Reduction Act."
CEQ was established as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when several major environmental laws were enacted in the 1970s. Housed within the executive office of the president, CEQ was historically tasked with overseeing agency compliance with NEPA.
However, over the decades, the scope and power of CEQ have expanded dramatically through executive orders and a departure from its initial mission. Biden specifically has worked to transform CEQ's role from overseeing NEPA compliance to the entity charged with implementing his eco-agenda, remaking federal agencies as vehicles of social change, and leading the war on domestic energy production.
An increase in scope has also led to an increase in funding requests. CEQ’s budget remained relatively stable over the years, until receiving an infusion of funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. From 2019 to 2023, CEQ’s baseline budget grew from $2.89 million to approximately $4.67 million. In addition to this growth, CEQ received $62.5 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to support environmental and climate data collection as well as CEQ’s baseline functions. Today's hearing was an opportunity for committee members to question these funding needs and conduct robust oversight over this growing entity.For more information, click here.
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