The Biden Administration’s Fiscal Year 2022 “skinny budget”—a 58-page summary of a much larger and more detailed budget proposal to be submitted later this spring—calls for significant funding boosts to address the climate crisis at home and abroad.
The proposal includes significant new investments to address climate change across nearly every federal agency.
The proposal includes new investments to address climate change—an increase of more than $14 billion compared to 2021—across nearly every federal agency. This represents an effort to follow through on the President Joe Biden’s stated commitment to pursue a whole of government approach and mainstream climate policy across U.S. federal government agencies.
Below we have highlighted some of the climate focused aspects of the President’s budget proposal, broken down by department.
Department of Agriculture
- $400 million in new funding to give rural electric providers financial flexibility as they accelerate to carbon-pollution free electricity by 2035.
- $6.5 billion in loan authority for rural electric loans, an increase of $1 billion over the 2021 enacted level, to support additional clean energy, energy storage, and transmission projects.
Department of Commerce
- $84 million (an increase of $50 million over the 2021 enacted level) for the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Assistance to Coal Communities program.
- $300 million to support locally-driven economic development projects.
Department of Energy
- $1.9 billion for a Building Clean Energy Projects and Workforce Initiative to begin achieving carbon pollution free electricity by 2035.
$1.9 billion for a Building Clean Energy Projects and Workforce Initiative to begin achieving carbon pollution free electricity by 2035.
- Increased funding for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management to advance carbon reduction and mitigation in difficult to decarbonize sectors with technologies and methods such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, and direct air capture.
- Funds DOE’s role in supporting the newly established Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization.
- Supports the POWER+ Initiative and complements other targeted investments across the government to help communities impacted by the energy transition and ensure their success.
Department of Health and Human Services
Establishes a new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity that would focus on decreasing effects of climate change on vulnerable populations.
- Establishes a new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity that would focus on decreasing effects of climate change on vulnerable populations.
- $110 million for National Institutes of Health’s Climate Change and Human Health program, a $100 million increase over the 2021 enacted level, to support research aimed at understanding the health impacts of climate change.
- $110 million for Centers for Disease Control’s Climate and Health program, a $100 million increase over the 2021 enacted level, to identify potential health effects associated with climate change and implement health adaptation plans.
Department of Housing and Urban Development
- $800 million in new investments across HUD programs for modernization and rehabilitation aimed at energy efficiency and resilience to climate change impacts, such as increasingly frequent and severe floods.
Department of the Interior
- $450 million to remediate many of the thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells and reclaim abandoned mines on Federal and non-Federal lands.
$200 million for science-driven conservation. This investment would support the goal of conserving 30 percent of land and water by 2030.
- $550 million to decrease climate pollution, accelerate clean energy deployment, and expand efforts around climate adaptation and ecosystem resilience among all the Department’s land management agencies.
- $200 million for science-driven conservation to align management of natural resources with the country’s climate, biodiversity, and clean energy needs. This investment would support the goal of conserving 30 percent of land and water by 2030.
- Support the Civilian Climate Corps to develop the next generation of conservation workers.
Department of Justice
- Provides $5 million for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division to tackle environmental justice issues.
Department of Labor
- $100 million investment for DOL’s role in the new multi-agency POWER+ Initiative, aimed at reskilling and reemploying displaced workers in Appalachian communities. This request would complement other targeted Federal investments in POWER+ to assist workers and transform local economies in communities transitioning away from fossil fuel production.
Army Corps of Engineers
- The request invests in programs to help local communities identify and address their risks associated with climate change and improve the resilience of Corps infrastructure to climate change, including taking climate resilience into account when selecting projects.
Environmental Protection Agency
- $936 million for a new Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice initiative that would help create good-paying jobs, clean up pollution, implement Justice40 and advance racial equity. These funds would help to ensure environmental justice for communities who too often have been left behind, including rural and tribal communities. This includes $100 million for a new community air quality monitoring and notification program and an additional $30 million to enforce existing laws meant to protect communities from hazardous pollution and hold polluters accountable.
These funds would help to ensure environmental justice for communities who too often have been left behind, including rural and tribal communities.
- $882 million for the Superfund Remedial program to clean up the most contaminated land, reduce emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases from existing and abandoned infrastructure, and respond to environmental emergencies, oil spills, and natural disasters.
- $100 million in air quality grants for States and Tribes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.
- $30 million to improve knowledge of the impacts of climate change on human health and the environment, which would more than double EPA’s climate change research budget.
- $3.6 billion for water infrastructure, an increase of $625 million over the 2021 enacted level.
- Provides increased funding for EPA’s Brownfields program.
- $75 million to accelerate toxicity studies and research to inform the regulatory development of designating Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS as hazardous substances and set enforceable limits for PFAS under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This funding would also provide grants for technical assistance as state and local governments deal with PFAS contamination.
National Science Foundation
- The proposal recommends $1.2 billion for climate and clean energy related research, an increase of $500 million above the 2021 enacted level.
Department of Transportation
- The proposal includes a $317-million increase for U.S. Department of Transportation discretionary programs, but notes discretionary resources are a fraction of USDOT’s total budget. Most of the agency’s mandatory funding comes from the Highway Trust Fund. A proposed mandatory budget is forthcoming from the Biden Administration.
This is a positive start, but it is important to note that a President’s budget proposal represents an administration’s priorities and suggestions to the legislative branch. Ultimately it is Congress that will create and pass the federal budget into law. The House and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees will soon begin the process of holding hearings and outlining the shape of the fiscal year 2022 budget.
The White House is planning to release its full fiscal 2022 budget later this spring. We will share additional information when it becomes available.