Appropriations

FY 2021 Budget and Congressional Appropriations

Background

On February 10, 2020, the Administration released its proposed FY 2021 budget, which includes steep decreases in EPA’s funding.  The budget must now go to Congress for consideration.  The Administration’s proposal calls for the following: $151.9 million for state and local air grants under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act (compared to $228.2 million in FY 2020); $6.66 billion for EPA (compared to $9.06 billion in FY 2020); $10 million for grants under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) (compared to $87 million in FY 2020); $0 for Targeted Airshed Grants (compared to $56.3 million in FY 2020); $10 million for Multipurpose Grants (compared to $13 million in FY 2020); and transition of the PM2.5 monitoring program from Section 103 authority (which does not require matching grants) to Section 105 (which does require matching funds). EPA has issued a “Budget in Brief.”  There is more detailed legislative language to accompany the proposal.

Key Actions

December 27, 2020 – The President signed into law H.R. 133, which contained appropriations for the federal government for the remainder of FY 2021.  The government had been operating under Continuing Resolutions since the start of the fiscal year on October 1, 2020.  Congress passed the bill on December 21, 2020 by a House vote of 359-53 (for the sections that included EPA funding) and a Senate vote of 92-6.  Among the provisions of the bill are the following:

  • $229.5 million for federal grants to state and local air quality agencies under Sections 103 and 105 ($228.2 million in FY 2020);
  • $9.237 billion for EPA’s total budget ($9.057 billion in FY 2020);
  • $90 million for funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program ($87 million in FY 2020);
  • $59 million for Targeted Airshed Grants ($56.3 million in FY 2020);
  • $10 million for Multipurpose Grants ($13 million in FY 2020), with language focusing on PFAS-related activities;
  • funding for fine particulate matter monitoring to remain under the authority of Section 103, rather than shifting to Section 105 (same as in FY 2020); and
  • direction to EPA to allocate funds for state and local air grants using the same formula as FY 2015. EPA is encouraged to use balances to provide additional funds to those regions with the highest need, as it did in FY 2016. If EPA seeks to change the formula, it should submit a proposal to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The final bill does not include most of the riders included in the House version of the bill.  (See NACAA comparison chart for more information.)  Bill language (EPA section begins on p. 801), Bill report language (EPA text begins on p. 53 and charts on p. 163 of PDF) and NACAA Comparison Chart of FY2021 Appropriations Proposals.

November 10, 2020 – Senate Releases FY 2021 Funding Bill – The Senate Appropriations Committee released its proposed FY 2021 appropriations legislation for the federal government, including funding for EPA.  The Senate legislation will not go through the normal mark-up process.  Instead, Senate and House leaders will negotiate to arrive at provisions that could be adopted in both chambers (the House of Representatives previously approved legislation with EPA funding on July 24, 2020).  Among the provisions of the new Senate bill are the following: 

  • $228.2 million for federal grants to state and local air quality agencies under Sections 103 and 105 ($228.2 million in FY 2020 and $253 million in House bill);
  • $9.085 billion for EPA’s total budget ($9.057 billion in FY 2020 and $9.38 billion in House bill);
  • $87 million for funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program ($87 million in FY 2020 and $90 million in House bill);
  • $58.3 million for Targeted Airshed Grants ($56.3 million in FY 2020 amount and $56.3 million in House bill);
  • $10 million for Multipurpose Grants ($13 million in FY 2020 and zero in House bill);
  • funding for fine particulate matter monitoring to remain under the authority of Section 103, rather than shifting to Section 105 (same as in FY 2020 and House bill);  and
  • direction to EPA to allocate funds for state and local air grants using the same formula as FY 2015. EPA is encouraged to use balances to provide additional funds to those regions with the highest need, as it did in FY 2016. If EPA seeks to change the formula, it should submit a proposal to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The federal government is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution that provides funding at FY 2020 levels until December 11, 2020.  Congress must pass a FY 2021 funding law (and the President must sign it), or adopt another CR by that date to avoid a government shutdown. Bill language (EPA begins on page 70), Bill report language (EPA begins page 80 and charts on page 164), NACAA Comparison Chart of FY 2021 Appropriations Proposals.

September 30, 2020 – The President signed H.R. 8337, the ‘‘Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act’’ that provides continued funding for the federal government (at FY 2020 levels for most programs) through December 11, 2020.  The Senate had adopted the measure, often referred to as a Continuing Resolution (CR), earlier in the day by a vote 84-10.  The House had adopted the bill, on September 22, 2020.  The measure was necessary to keep the federal government in operation after the federal fiscal year ends on September 30, 2020 because Congress has not yet adopted FY 2021 appropriations legislation.  Without the CR, the federal government would have had to shut down most operations beginning October 1, 2020.

July 24, 2020 – U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 7608, which includes FY 2021 appropriations for  EPA. It includes, among other provisions, $253-million for federal grants to state and local air quality agencies under Clean Air Act Sections 103 and 105 (an increase of $24.8 million above FY 2020 levels and $101 million above the Administration’s request).  In addition to the provisions listed in the July 10, 2020 entry below, the final bill also included a prohibition on  funding to implement, administer or enforce EPA’s July 15, 2020 revision to the National Environmental Policy Act; a prohibition of the rejection of grant applications that use the terms “global warming” or “climate change;” and a transfer of $1 million to Targeted Airshed Grants.

July 10, 2020 – The House Appropriations Committee marked up and approved its bill containing EPA funding for FY 2021.  Information on EPA in the House bill begins on page 72.  Information on EPA in the accompanying House report begins on page 77, with charts on page 218).  The bill includes the following:

  • $253 million for federal grants to state and local air quality agencies under Sections 103 and 105 (an increase of $24.8 million above FY 2020 levels and $101 million above the Administration’s request); 
  • $9.38 billion for EPA’s total budget (an increase of $318 million over the FY 2020 enacted level and $2.67 billion over the Administration’s request);
  • $90 million for funding for the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program ($3 million above the FY 2020 amount and $80 million above the Administration’s FY 2021 request);
  • $56.3 million for Targeted Airshed Grants (equal to the FY 2020 amount; the Administration’s request for FY 2021 was zero);
  • Zero for Multipurpose Grants (which received $13 million in FY 2020; the Administration’s request for FY 2021 was $10 million);
  • funding for fine particulate matter monitoring to remain under the authority of Section 103, rather than shifting to Section 105 (NACAA has asked Congress to retain this funding under Section 103 authority);
  • continuation of the regulation of emissions of hazardous air pollutants from power plants under Section 112 (i.e., retain the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards – MATS) and to provide Congress a report comprehensively assessing the public health benefits, and compliance costs of MATS (page 94 of bill and pages 96 and 109 of report);
  • prohibition on funding for EPA to finalize the proposed ‘‘Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emission Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources Review’’ (page 156 of bill and page 152 of report);
  • expression of disappointment in EPA’s guidance, ‘‘COVID–19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program,’’ because “the policies put into place are far in excess of what is appropriate and necessary…” EPA should modify it in accordance with specifics in the report language (page 80 of report);
  • EPA is urged to work cooperatively with state and local air agencies to develop a final rule for the Cleaner Trucks Initiative addressing heavy-duty truck emissions.  The language includes other specific recommendations about the rule (page 82 of report);
  • additional resources for EPA’s monitoring and compliance activities related to emissions of ethylene oxide.  The committee urges EPA to engage with communities to adequately address their concerns and to incorporate validated monitoring data into its rulemaking (page 88 of report);
  • prohibition on funding for EPA to finalize or implement the proposed rule entitled, “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” that EPA proposed on April 30, 2020; and
  • $450 million for DERA to be available until September 30, 2023 as part of supplemental funds for “Additional Infrastructure Investments.”  The provision would waive state grant loan matching requirements.

March 10, 2020 – NACAA submitted written testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding FY 2021 appropriations, specifically related to grants for state and local air quality agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act.  NACAA’s testimony, which is nearly identical to testimony submitted to the corresponding House Subcommittee on March 5, 2020, requests that Congress 1) increase federal grants to state and local air pollution control agencies by $87 million above FY 2020 levels, for a total of $315 million; 2) provide flexibility to state and local air quality agencies to use any additional grants to address the highest priority programs in their areas; and 3) retain grants for monitoring fine particulate matter (PM2.5) under the authority of Section 103 of the Clean Air Act, rather than shifting it to Section 105.

March 5, 2020 – NACAA submitted written testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding FY 2021 appropriations, specifically related to grants for state and local air quality agencies under Sections 103 and 105 of the Clean Air Act.  NACAA’s testimony requests that Congress 1) increase federal grants to state and local air pollution control agencies by $87 million above FY 2020 levels, for a total of $315 million; 2) provide flexibility to state and local air quality agencies to use any additional grants to address the highest priority programs in their areas; and 3) retain grants for monitoring fine particulate matter (PM2.5) under the authority of Section 103 of the Clean Air Act, rather than shifting it to Section 105.  Miles Keogh, NACAA’s Executive Director, provided similar testimony during the Subcommittee’s hearing on February 6, 2020.

February 6, 2020 – Miles Keogh, NACAA’s Executive Director, testified on behalf of the association at a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies regarding the FY 2021 budget for the Environmental Protection Agency.  NACAA’s testimony urged Congress to 1) increase federal grants to state and local air agencies by $87 million above FY 2020 levels, for a total of $315 million; 2) provide flexibility to these agencies to use any additional grants to address the highest priority programs in their areas; and 3) retain grants for monitoring fine particulate matter under the authority of Section 103.