Rep. Cisneros Secures Environment Priorities in House-Passed Appropriations Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) announced the House passage of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act in H.R. 3055, the Second FY 2020 Appropriations Minibus. The bill provides $37.28 billion to support programs within the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other related agencies, an increase of $1.73 billion over the 2019 enacted level and $7.24 billion over the President’s 2020 request. There is also an additional $2.25 billion of funding provided under the fire suppression cap adjustment.
During consideration, Congressman Cisneros secured passage of two amendments, approved on a bipartisan basis.
The Congressman joined fellow Californians Reps. Carbajal, Rouda, Hill, Huffman, Porter, Kilmer and Levin, in securing passage of an amendment to prohibit funding from being used on offshore oil and gas leasing off the four planning areas off the Pacific, including Southern California. The amendment will ensure our coasts remain free from pollution, support environmental and public health as well as the $44 billion coastal economies of the region that support nearly 650,000 jobs. Congressman Cisneros is a strong supporter and cosponsor of H.R. 279, the California Clean Coast Act, which would ban future offshore oil and gas leasing off the coast of California.
Additionally, under the leadership of Congresswoman Brownley (CA-26), Congressman Cisneros secured passage of an amendment to increase funding for wildland fire management by $1 million to support the Joint Fire Science program. This program supports research nationwide on fire-related issues to advance seasonal wildfire forecasts, rate fire dangers, help state forestry agencies prepare for wildfire events, and manage develop tools for wildfire management.
Summaries of key provisions supported by Rep. Cisneros are below:
$523.9 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) - Congressman Cisneros submitted a letter led by Rep. Thompson to the House Appropriations Committee urging strong funding levels for LWCF to ensure permanent protection, recreational access, and maintenance of critical lands in our national and community forests, recreation areas, parks, wildlife refuges, Civil War battlefields, and historic sites. The bill provides $523.9 million for LWCF, including $244 million for the federal program and $280 million for state programs. The total is $85 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $491 million above the President’s budget request.
$85.4 million for Earthquake hazards program - Congressman Cisneros submitted a letter led by Rep. Schiff to the House Appropriations Committee urging funding to support continued investment in Earthquake Early Warning Systems. Also called ShakeAlert, this proven technology is already fully operational in other countries. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, and others, is currently working to adapt the technology and has developed an on-shore prototype system for test users along the west coast. The system detects waves radiating from the epicenter of a quake and would provide people in California with seconds to even a minute or more of warning. With advanced notice, people can take cover, automated systems can be triggered to slow down trains and manage the power grid, doctors can pause surgeries, and more. The bill also includes $19 million for continued development and expansion of the ShakeAlert West Coast earthquake early warning (EEW) system.
$71 million for State and Tribal Wildlife Grants - Congressman Cisneros submitted a bipartisan letter to the House Appropriations Committee in support of strong funding levels for state and tribal wildlife grants, under the leadership of Rep. Thompson and Rep. Young. The program is used by states, territories, DC, and tribes to address monitoring and conservation needs for over 12,000 species of greatest conservation need, including those species petitioned for federal endangered species listing, and is a principal funding source to implement and revise State Wildlife Action Plans. The funding provided under the bill represents an increase of $6 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $39 million above the President’s budget request.
$10.2 million for Environmental Justice activities - As a member of the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force, Congressman Cisneros joined Rep. Adams in urging the Committee to provide strong funding levels for Environmental Justice programs. The funding provided under the bill represents a 47% increase above the 2019 enacted level nearly four-fold increase above the President’s budget request.
$167.5 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities - Congressman Cisneros submitted a letter with Rep. Pingree in support of strong funding levels for the National Endowment of the Arts, a critical source of funding to promote artistic excellence and innovation. The funding provided under the bill for these programs represents an increase of $12.5 million above than the 2019 enacted levels and rejects the President’s budget request proposal to completely eliminate the Agencies.