President Joe Biden has proposed $14bn in spending on initiatives to fight climate change in the 2022 budget, including large cash injections for environmental regulation and science research.
The proposal underscores the administration’s ambitions to decarbonising the economy by 2050 to stem global warming, reversing a policy direction set by former President Donald Trump to slash red tape that hindered fossil fuel production.
An administration official told reporters that the infusion of funding would help restore the federal government’s ability to respond to climate change after the previous administration slashed funding for scientific and regulatory agencies.
“Despite the growing threat of climate change, we’ve cut funding for climate science and technology,” the official said, adding the new funding would “help restore the capacity needed to carry out core climate functions, to secure environmental justice for communities that have been left behind and to help developing countries reduce emissions.”
The budget included major new climate change investments and financial support for communities hardest hit by pollution or by the rapid transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The proposals allocated the largest amount ever to invest marginalised and overburdened communities – $1.4bn, including $936m toward a new Accelerating Environmental and Economic Justice initiative at the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as $100m to develop a new community air quality monitoring and notification program.
It also invested $550m in a program to remediate abandoned oil and gas wells nationwide, tripling current funding, an effort that would create 250,000 jobs.
According to the New York Times, the budget also proposed a 16 per cent increase in federal spending on domestic priorities including education and reducing poverty.
The proposals also included $1.2bn toward investing in security technology, such as sensors to detect illegal crossing on its southern border.
Congress is under no requirement to adhere to the White House budget, which is generally viewed as a political messaging document.