WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee held a hearing on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed budget for fiscal year 2025.

Below is the opening statement of Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:

“Today, we are pleased to welcome Administrator Michael Regan back to our committee to discuss President Biden’s fiscal year 2025 budget proposal for the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I oftentimes say that budgets are about priorities. I believe that the President’s budget prioritizes a vision for the future of our nation in which every American can enjoy the health benefits of cleaner air and land as well as cleaner water.

“The President’s $11 billion budget request for EPA represents a 20 percent increase over the amount Congress approved for fiscal year 2024.

“That may seem like a very significant increase — and I agree that it is. But make no mistake, after years of funding cuts and freezes the agency truly needs these investments if it is to better protect the health and wellbeing of our constituents across America.

“Those of us who care about the future of our planet — and I believe that’s all of us — want an EPA that has the resources it needs to take commonsense steps to combat the greatest threat we face today on our planet — the climate crisis. 

“Nearly every day, we see the signs of a planet in crisis — wildfires ravaging our lands, polluted air filling our lungs, extreme heat gripping many of our communities and much, much more. Scientists here and around the world have repeatedly sounded the alarm. We are running out of time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change for the health of our planet and our people.

“In 2023 alone, the United States experienced 28 climate disasters. Compared to what? For comparison, the U.S. experienced only seven climate disasters in 2013. In 10 years, the number of climate disasters has quadrupled. And on top of that, the 28 disasters that our country experienced in 2023 cost American taxpayers a total of $93 billion. To put that figure into perspective, it’s more than eight times the size of EPA’s proposed budget for 2025.

“Fortunately, the President’s proposed budget would enable EPA to continue its work to address the climate crisis and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all while protecting public health and supporting economic growth. How might that be accomplished, one might ask?

“First, the President’s budget request would provide the agency the funding it needs to continue to implement the historic investments made by Congress over the last few years — including passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Through the passage of those laws, Congress has directed EPA to do more than ever before to tackle climate change, address pollution and protect our communities.

“Thanks to these laws, we have empowered EPA to help build a clean energy economy that is creating millions of jobs across America and lowering our unemployment rate while also lowering energy and health costs for households throughout our country.

“Just last month, Administrator Regan announced the awardees that will distribute $27 billion for clean energy projects through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. As you will recall, a number of our colleagues on this committee worked hard to create this program in the Inflation Reduction Act.

“The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is going to fund national networks of community financial institutions that will finance climate and clean energy projects across our nation, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

“Thanks to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, homeowners throughout America will be able to make repairs and investments in order to make their homes more energy efficient, and business owners will have access to the financing they need should they choose to decarbonize their buildings or install solar panels, just to name a few examples!

“And through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we invested in EPA’s work to clean up legacy pollution from contaminated brownfields and Superfund sites, as well as improve solid waste management and recycling programs, and address lead and PFAS in our drinking water.

“For example, last year, the Standard Chlorine superfund site in northern Delaware received $1 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to remove hazardous chemicals from that site and protect public health.

“I look forward to continuing to work with you, Administrator Regan, to support EPA's implementation of these critical laws, which will benefit our communities for decades to come.

“Beyond its implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, EPA has also been busy acting to develop and finalize rules — informed by cutting-edge scientific research — to remove dangerous pollutants from the water we drink and the air we breathe.

“EPA’s new climate and clean air regulations will result in billions of dollars in climate and public health benefits across our country — all while encouraging American innovation to help industry meet stronger standards on reasonable timelines.

“And by releasing new rules to implement laws like the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Superfund law and the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA is addressing some of the most pressing environmental and public health hazards that America faces.

“The President’s budget will support the agency’s continued work to implement these rules to benefit our health, our planet and our economy.

“Administrator Regan, you have a tough job. A very tough job! But, I believe we are heading in the right direction, thanks in no small part to your leadership at EPA during an especially challenging time in our nation’s history. We look forward to hearing your testimony today.”