Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2022
WASHINGTON — Several bureaus across the Department of the Interior submitted to Congress their fiscal year 2022 blueprints for implementing President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law this week, marking a significant step in the Department’s efforts to help communities tackle the climate crisis and address legacy pollution while creating good-paying union jobs, advancing environmental justice, boosting local economies and upholding the federal trust responsibility to Tribes.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an opportunity for us to meet the moment and make critical investments in our climate and physical infrastructure. It will help ensure a healthy planet for current and future generations while creating jobs and advancing environmental justice,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “From cleaning toxic pollution and conserving habitats to protecting from drought and wildfires, the Department’s roadmap to implementing this historic law underscores how communities across the nation will directly benefit from these investments.”
As required by the Infrastructure Law, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Wildland Fire, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement have submitted their official spend plans to the U.S. Congress. The Department also submitted spend plans outlining efforts to plug and reclaim orphaned oil and gas wells, as well as a spend plan outlining efforts to restore ecosystems and protect habitats.
The spend plans outline how the Interior Department and bureaus will stand up new programs and expand existing work to deliver results by building resilience to the devastating effects of drought and wildfires, putting Americans to work to clean up legacy pollution, strengthening Tribal water infrastructure and climate resilience, and identifying domestic supplies of mineral resources needed to advance new technologies.
Programs authorized and appropriated by the Infrastructure Law, and outlined in bureau spend plans, include:
- $8.3 Billion Investment in Water and Drought Resilience. Our shared priority is to build resilient communities and protect our water supplies for people and the natural environment. The Infrastructure Law’s investments will fund water efficiency and recycling programs, rural water projects, WaterSMART grants, and dam safety to ensure that irrigators, Tribes, and adjoining communities receive adequate assistance and support.
- $1.5 Billion Investment in Wildfire Resilience. The Infrastructure Law will help better prepare communities and ecosystems against the threat of wildland fire by making historic investments in forest restoration, hazardous fuels management and post-wildfire restoration activities across America’s national parks, forests and grasslands, as well as investing in our federal firefighters.
- $1.4 Billion Investment in Ecosystem Restoration and Resilience. The Infrastructure Law makes a critical investment in the resilience and restoration of America's lands, including funding for stewardship contracts, ecosystem restoration projects, invasive species detection and prevention, and native vegetation restoration efforts. The investments also include $400 million for states, Tribes, and territories to participate in voluntary restoration efforts, as well as $100 million to address invasive species.
- $466 Million Investment in Tribal Climate Resilience and Infrastructure. The Infrastructure Law’s investments will support community-led transitions for the most vulnerable Tribal communities, including climate adaptation planning, ocean and coastal management planning, capacity building, and relocation, managed retreat, and protect-in-place planning for climate risks. It will also help fund construction, repair, improvement, and maintenance of irrigation and power systems, safety of dams, water sanitation, and other facilities in Tribal communities.
The Law also invests in supporting and protecting communities by funding:
- $16 Billion Investment in Legacy Pollution Clean-Up. The Law makes historic investments to plug orphan wells and reclaim abandoned coal mine lands, which will help communities eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by past extraction activities. These funds support vitally needed jobs by funding projects that cap orphaned oil and gas wells, close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining.
- $2.5 Billion Investment in Indian Water Rights Settlements. The Department is committed to upholding our trust responsibilities and delivering long-promised water resources to Tribes, certainty to non-Indian neighbors, and a solid foundation for future economic development for entire communities dependent on common water resources. The Law’s historic investments will help the Department fulfill settlements of Indian water rights claims.
Additional information about each bureau’s spend plans can be accessed on the Department’s infrastructure webpage.