After CEQ Bucks Congressional Oversight, Westerman Passes Amendment Reducing CEQ Funding
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 2, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman’s (R-Ark.) amendment #58 to H.R. 4821, the Department of Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024. This amendment will reduce CEQ funding to its authorized level of $1 million. Westerman issued the following statement in response:
"CEQ has long been an example of the ways unchecked government spending can result in agencies being run by bureaucrats with no accountability to the taxpayer. Already this year, CEQ has refused to testify at the Committee on Natural Resources three times, and they have failed to answer questions that fall under the umbrella of routine oversight. While they wage war on American energy producers, they actively pay our adversaries for resources we could produce here at home cleaner, safer and with American workers. I've been deeply concerned by their apparent inability to even answer a letter, and if you can't answer to the taxpayer then you won't continue to receive funding. Today we voted to reduce their ballooning budget and send a clear message to the Biden administration that disregard for congressional oversight and the American people is unacceptable."
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. The Westerman amendment that passed today would bring the budget back down to its currently authorized level of $1 million for fiscal year 2024.
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