President’s Budget Confirms Support for Climate, Conservation, and Equity

The Biden administration is proposing increased federal investments for tackling the climate crisis, rebuilding communities, and conserving birds, wildlife, and ecosystems.

Building upon the discretionary budget request released in early April (also known as the “skinny budget”), the Biden Administration recently released its much-anticipated full budget proposal for fiscal year 2022.

The proposal provides additional details for federal projects and programs that support birds, restore habitat, drive energy innovation, and protect communities. Audubon is pleased to see robust funding levels for many of the line-item programs we and our partners support for bird conservation and climate action. The robust funding levels are a welcome relief after four years of Presidential budgets that proposed devastating cuts to federal investments in conservation and communities.

“Birds are telling us to act now and invest in the conservation and restoration of our natural systems,” says Sarah Greenberger, senior vice president for Conservation Policy. “The President’s budget supports a forward-looking approach to protecting birds and communities across the country.”

As we continue to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, related economic crises, social injustice and inequities, and the ongoing and increasing impacts from climate change, Audubon supports federal investments that will bring birds back. In the list below you will see programs that will help birds and people across the United States. In particular, Audubon supports the following programmatic increases:

  • Department of Interior
    • Increased funding for migratory bird permitting programs at $5 million
    • Increased funding for the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act at $7.9 million, a $3 million increase, and 61% over last year
    • Increased funding for the Urban Bird Treaty program at $1 million
    • Increased funding for Migratory Bird Joint Ventures at $17.6 million, a $2.5 million increase, and 16% over last year
    • Increased funding for Migratory Bird Management program at $66.1 million, an $18.2 million increase, and a 38% over last year
    • Increased funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System at $584 million, an increase of over $80 million from FY21 funding.
    • And, importantly, the budget requests that Congress omit language in the Interior appropriations bill that prohibits the listing of the Greater Sage-Grouse under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Department of Energy
    • Increased funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) at $4.7 billion, including $322 million for the solar program and $185 million for the wind program.
    • Increased funding for ARPA-E at $500 million. While this represents an increase from FY21 funding, Audubon urges Congress to fully fund ARPA-E at $750M, regardless of the amount of funding appropriated for ARPA-C.
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    • Increased funding for the EPA’s Geographic Programs, including:
      • The Chesapeake Bay Program at $90.5 million
      • The Puget Sound at $35 million
      • The Long Island Sound at $40 million
      • The Gulf of Mexico at $22.45 million
      • South Florida at $7.16 million
    • Increased funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative at $340 million. While this represents a $10 million increase over FY21 levels, Audubon urges Congress to fund this program at the authorized amount of $375 million.
    • Increased funding for the National Estuary Program at $31.96 million. Audubon urges Congress to fully fund this program at $50 million.
    • Increased funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water state revolving funds (SRFs). Audubon urges Congress to significantly increase these funds to account for years of under investment.
  • Army Corps of Engineers
    • Increased funding for the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration (SFER) project, Everglades construction ($350 million) and operations and maintenance ($8.95 million). While this represents a significant increase in the world’s largest ecosystem restoration project, Audubon urges Congress to fully fund the SFER at $725 million.
  • Bureau of Reclamation
    • Increased funding for the WaterSMART drought response program at $16.5 million. With the ongoing megadrought in the west, this funding is critical to properly prepare for and respond to drought conditions. Audubon encourages Congress to increase appropriations for two other WaterSMART programs, the Cooperative Watershed Management Program and the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program. These programs should be fully funded at $20 million and $15 million, respectively, to provide multi-benefit projects that can promote water sustainability, create and restore wildlife habitat, and build community resilience to drought.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    • NOAA received the highest topline budget request in history, at $6.9 billion (a $1.4 billion increase). The President’s Budget request recognizes NOAA’s important role in understanding climate science while ensuring coastal communities and ecosystems are resilient to climate change.

While not every program highlighted in our FY22 Bird Budget received an increase in the President’s budget, Audubon celebrates the amount of funding dedicated to climate action, justice and equity, bird habitat restoration, and species conservation. Congress will now draft the 12 annual spending bills and hold markup sessions and votes this summer. September 30 is the annual deadline for passing a new budget, but Congress can extend this deadline.

Audubon continues to advocate for conservation investments that will bring birds back and we look forward to seeing how Congress incorporates the President’s widely-supported climate and conservation initiatives in the FY22 budget process.