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Interior Appropriations Bill Ensures Good Stewardship of Environment, Natural Resources

June 19, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3) announced the inclusion of critical funding for environmental projects in Connecticut in the fiscal year 2010 Interior – Environment Appropriations Bill. The bill is focused on protecting our nation’s environment and natural resources by providing program funding to clean up hazardous waste sites, ensure every American has clean water to drink, and protect our natural treasures. The bill – approved Thursday [18 June] evening by the House Appropriations Committee – is at the start of the legislative process for approving the annual appropriations bills. Next steps include consideration by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and after it is approved by both chambers, signed into law by the President.

“With this bill we are making critical investments in our communities – for Prospect this means access to safe and clean drinking water and for Derby, the funding to preserve the historic Opera House will help with economic and community development. I am pleased that these resources have been included in the Interior Appropriations Bill,” said DeLauro. “Further, because of funding included in this bill, we can continue to make progress on environmental initiatives like the restoration of Long Island Sound at a time when the rapid growth of infrastructure places increasing demand on the state’s natural resources.”

The legislation provides $10.97 million for the Department of the Interior; $10.57 million for the Environmental Protection Agency; $4.052 million for the Indian Health Service; and $2.768 million for the U.S. Forest Service. Additionally, the bill provides $170 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.

KEY INVESTMENTS

Environmental Protection Agency: $10.46 billion, $2.83 billion above 2009, to protect our nation’s air, clean its waters and restore its lands.

Clean Drinking Water & Wastewater: $3.9 billion to help over 1500 communities improve their drinking water and wastewater systems. This includes: $2.3 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to ensure our nation’s waters meet the goals of the Clean Water Act; $1.4 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to protect public health by improving drinking water systems; and $160 million for direct grants to communities for water infrastructure. A portion of the State Revolving Funds will be available as subsidized loans, and 20 percent of each State Revolving Fund will be available for green infrastructure, water or energy improvements, or other environmentally innovative projects. It is estimated that these funds will create as many as 40,000 new construction jobs.

Cleaning Up Hazardous Waste and Toxic Sites: $1.5 billion, equal to the President’s request and $3 million above 2009, to clean up dangerous toxic waste including $605 million for the Superfund to clean up hazardous substances at over 1,500 of the nation’s worst toxic waste sites; $113 million to inspect and clean up underground toxic spills; and $100 million for evaluation and cleanup of Brownfields former industrial and commercial sites to make problem properties ready for development and productive community use.

Enforcement: $601 million, equal to the President’s request and $34 million above 2009, for effective criminal and civil enforcement, and to fund additional staff to allow EPA to meet its statutory requirement to have 200 criminal investigators.

Protecting our Children from Toxins in the Environment: $5 million to allow the EPA to fully fund four new centers of excellence to study the impact to children from toxins and chemicals in the environment and to expand EPA in-house research in this area. These funds are in addition to the request for $3.3 million to continue the Agency’s initiative to monitor the air around schools.

Climate Change: $420 million, $24 million above the President’s request and $189 million above 2009, for programs to address global climate change. This includes:

• $28 million to implement the Energy Independence and Security Act, including $21 million to meet its requirement that the US produce 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, and $7 million for carbon sequestration research (evaluating geological and biological potential and processes) at the US Geological Survey.

• $50 million for EPA’s Energy Star program which saves consumers $14 billion a year in energy costs by letting them know appliances’ energy efficiency.

• $10 million for new grants at EPA to encourage local communities to find ways to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

• $17 million to continue development of a Greenhouse Gas Registry, a first step in controlling greenhouse gasses.

• $67 million for priority climate change research at the US Geological Survey, an increase of $22 million over 2009.

• $32 million total for climate change research at the Forest Service, an increase of $5 million over 2009.

• $15 million as requested for the National Global Warming and Wildlife Science Center at the US Geological Survey for wildlife adaptation to climate change.

• $58 million to promote the development of renewable clean energy sources on Federal lands and waters.

The legislation includes $15 million for the Long Island Sound Restoration Act & Long Island Sound Stewardship Act, which will allow the EPA will be able to continue to clean-up the Long Island Sound, as well as preserve areas along the Sound’s shorelines with significant ecological, recreational or educational value; and $2.25 million for the Land Acquisition for the Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, enabling the US Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase land in the four Connecticut River States- Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire-to expand the Silvio Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, established by Congress in 1991 – high demand for residential housing and infrastructure means rising development pressure and an increased need for land protection and conservation.

Additionally, the FY 2010 Interior Appropriations Bill included funding for the following projects in the Third Congressional District:

Sterling Opera House Historic Preservation Project, $150,000 (City of Derby, 1 Elizabeth Street, Derby, CT 06418): to assist with the renovation of the interior of the Sterling Opera House. This is a significant project for Derby in terms of economic and community development impact. This will once again recreate a cultural and regional stimulus for Derby and the surrounding communities.

Town of Prospect Drinking Water Infrastructure, $495,000 (Town of Prospect, 8 Center Street, Prospect, CT 06712): to install a 10,000 foot water main on Lombard Drive in Prospect south on Route 69, New Haven Road, to ensure access to safe and clean drinking water.