President Biden’s Budget Proposal Supports Healthy Rivers and Communities

March 15, 2023

Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145

Washington, DC — American Rivers applauded the Biden Administration’s proposed FY2024 Budget Request for prioritizing healthy rivers, which are essential to public health and safety and the well-being of communities nationwide.  

The request proposes to secure essential funding to help river communities jumpstart water infrastructure projects, reduce pollution, improve water storage in arid regions, and prioritize environmental justice to fight climate change. The President’s Budget would increase spending for critical agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers, made the following statement: 

“President Biden’s proposed budget is smart, sensible, and sophisticated. Building on last year’s historic successes to modernize our water infrastructure and improve water quality across the country to create jobs, this budget advances the President’s commitment to river communities and prioritizes river health. With climate change, loss of nature, and racial injustice threatening rivers and river communities, Congress must follow the President’s lead and prioritize spending that supports rivers, which are essential to all life.” 

Earlier this year, American Rivers released its annual community-driven budget and appropriations report, the River Budget: National Priorities for Healthy Rivers and Clean Water, highlighting opportunities to protect healthy rivers and improve access to clean water nationwide. The report is endorsed by 151 partner organizations including utility and state agency associations, fishing groups, small businesses, rural communities, public health organizations, environmental justice leaders, and more. Congress must pass a spending bill ahead of the September 30, 2023, funding deadline. 

Key Budget Toplines: 

Protects Clean Water for All, Advances Environmental Justice, and Prioritizes Nature-Based Solutions 

  • $12 billion for EPA, a $1.9 billion or 19-percent increase from the fiscal year 2023 enacted level. Tackles PFAS and implements Justice40 which ensures 40 percent of federal investments reach disadvantaged communities. 
  • $2.1 billion for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
  • $3.8 billion budget request for the National Park Service. 

Strengthens the Nation’s Defense Against Wildfires and Supports Climate Smart Agriculture 

  • $18.9 billion for DOI, an increase of $2 billion, or 12 percent over last year the 2024 request for discretionary budget authority to fund programs and operating expenses. Addresses catastrophic wildfires which are expected to increase due to climate change. 
  • $1.4 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation. Supports drought mitigation and domestic water supply projects. 
  • $1.6 billion for the Bureau of Land Management, the proposed 2024 budget for the BLM is an increase of $140.5 million above fiscal year 2023 funding. 
  • $32.6 billion for USDA, slightly more than 14.4 percent increase, or $4.7 billion, above the 2023 enacted level. The 2024 request for mandatory programs is $181.7 billion. Supports the 2023 Farm Bill and provides staffing resources to the agency. 

Invests in Flood Mitigation to Bolster Community Resilience 

  • $4.0 billion for FEMA climate resilience programs, over a $150 million increase from the FY 2023 enacted budget. Supports flood hazard mapping, including the development of new data to support future flood conditions, as well as funding to sustain the Civilian Climate Corps. 
  • $6.8 billion for NOAA, $451 million more than the FY 2023 levels. 

As the FY2024 Appropriations process moves forward, American Rivers will work on multiple fronts to ensure all promises made in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are kept in a final agreement. 

American Rivers will release a detailed analysis on the provisions of the president’s budget that will outline river health priorities in the coming days.