Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the package of federal funding bills for fiscal year 2022 made public by the Senate Appropriations Committee:
“The package of government funding bills released by the Senate Appropriations Committee reflects significant investments for California.
“I’m particularly pleased that the committee is taking the threat of climate change seriously. The funding package includes new money for climate-related programs that promote clean energy, reduce emissions and confront underlying problems like wildfire and drought.
“I want to thank Chairman Leahy and my colleagues on the committee for their leadership on these important issues. I look forward to working with them to keep moving these bills through Congress and get them to the president’s desk.”
Senator Feinstein helped secure $3.845 billion in this package to fight wildfires. The bill also increases wildland firefighter pay to $15 per hour and converts seasonal positions to full-time positions to help reduce the federal shortage of firefighters.
“As wildfires become more frequent and severe due to climate change, we can’t afford to have a shortage of firefighters on the job,” Feinstein said.
“Wildland firefighters perform a dangerous job and should be fairly compensated for the heroic work they perform. Reducing the pay gap between state and federal firefighters will help us recruit more firefighters and keep them on the job, reducing the shortage in the process.”
Senator Feinstein helped secure critical funding to combat homelessness, including $3.26 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, including $290 million for Homelessness Emergency Shelter Grants and $107 to prevent youth homelessness.
“Homelessness is a national problem that requires cooperation from every level of government. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to solve the myriad of problems that lead to homelessness,” Feinstein said.
“That is why this bill invests in programs that pair housing with job training, counseling and mental health services, allowing us to address the many underlying causes of homelessness and keep people off the streets.”
U.S.-Mexico border pollution
Senator Feinstein secured $35 million to stop toxic sewage and waste from flowing into the United States from Mexico, including along the Tijuana and New rivers.
In March, Senators Feinstein and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) introduced the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, to designate the Environmental Protection Agency as the lead agency to coordinate all federal, state and local agencies to build and maintain needed infrastructure projects to decrease pollution along the border.
“Californians are sick and tired of toxic sewage and waste flowing into our communities,” Feinstein said.
“This funding will help reduce the problem but only if federal agencies can’t continue to pass the buck. That’s why it’s essential that we pass our bill to put the EPA in charge of fixing the problem and ensuring that this money is spent wisely.”
California-specific drought and environmental resilience funding
The fiscal year 2022 funding bills will provide more than $1 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure and drought resilience programs in California.It includes $258 million to fund California projects under the WIIN Act, including water storage projects, water recycling projects, habitat restoration and other environmental projects. It also includes $450 million in emergency drought funding, $130 million for seismic retrofit of the BF Sisk Dam and other key California projects.
“The committee made significant investments in our water infrastructure that will allow the Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation to complete water storage, dam safety, water recycling and desalination projects across the country,” Feinstein said.
“California’s water infrastructure was built for a state of only 19 million. We’re now a state of 40 million. We have to modernize water systems to meet this new demand.”
More information is available here.
Additional California provisions
- $12 million for programs to restore the San Francisco Bay, a $3 million increase over last year.
- $25 million, a $9 million increase over last year, to improve Lake Tahoe’s water clarity, reduce the risk of wildfires in the Tahoe Basin and combat invasive species.
- $16 million, a $1 million increase over last year, for Department of Justice Anti-Meth Task Force Grants to help state law enforcement agencies combat methamphetamine trafficking and use. Senator Feinstein authored the provision to create these grants in 2014.
- $28.6 million to continue the development of the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System.
- $5.6 million for a Southern California pilot research program to survey and sample the barrels of DDT dumped off the coast of California and determine if there has been any human exposure to the toxins via fish.