House Interior Appropriations Bill Supports New Jersey Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fiscal Year 2018 Interior Appropriations bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee secures funding for programs important to New Jersey organizations and communities.  The legislation includes funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service, and various independent and related agencies.

“This legislation responsibly supports the agencies and offices we rely on to preserve our natural resources for future generations and prioritizes our limited funding to programs that protect environmental safety i.e. the Chemical Safety Board,” said Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11).  “Further, the Committee’s vigorous oversight has identified opportunities to rein in the federal bureaucracy and to stop many harmful and unnecessary regulations that destroy economic opportunity and hinder job creation.”

Under this legislation, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is funded at $7.53 billion, which is $528 million below the enacted FY17 level but $1.88 billion above the Administration’s recent budget request.  

This funding level is key to sustaining programs important to New Jersey such as the Superfund hazardous waste clean-up program.  In fact, in this legislation, Superfund is slated to receive a $28 million increase from current levels.  New Jersey has more Superfund sites than any other state.

EPA funding will also support the BEACH Grant program that is so important along the Jersey Shore. BEACH Act grants go to coastal states to develop and implement water quality monitoring and notification programs to ensure safe swimming, wading and boating conditions.

Under the bill, the EPA will continue to support other important programs like EnergySTAR.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, slated for a significant reduction under the Administration’s budget, is funded at $275 million.  $10 million has been authorized for open space preservation from willing sellers under Frelinghuysen’s Highlands Conservation Act.  Preserving the New Jersey Highlands is a major federal priority.  A major source of drinking water and in the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country, the Highlands is a critical area in need of protection.

The Committee also directs $5 million in funding to begin implementation of the Delaware River Basin Conservation Act signed into law in 2016 to coordinate existing public and private efforts to protect water quality, improve flood control, manage fish stocks, and enhance public access in the region including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the Delaware Bay.

The National Heritage Areas program, which the Administration had proposed to eliminate, is level-funded at $19.8 million including support for the Crossroads of the American Revolution Area in New Jersey.

National Park Servicein the bill is $2.9 billion, $65 million below the FY17 enacted but $314 million above the Administration’s budget request.  The legislation supports the Morristown National Historical Park and the Edison National Historical Park and all other national parks.  The bill targeted increases for park operation and maintenance backlog needs. 

Other programs important to New Jersey – the Historic Preservation Fund, State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund – were funded in the measure.

The National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanitiesare both funded at $145 million.  The Administration had proposed to terminate both programs in its budget request.

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), which the Administration had proposed to eliminate,is level-funded at $11 million.


In total, the bill provides $31.4 billion, $824 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $4.3 billion above the President’s budget request. These funds are targeted to important investments in the nation’s natural resources, including $3.4 billion for the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service to prevent and combat devastating wildfires. The legislation also contains several policy provisions to rein in harmful and unnecessary regulations at the EPA and other agencies.