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VIDEO: Citing Maine’s Recent FEMA Disaster Designation, Pingree Calls Out GOP’s Shortsighted Climate Crisis Cut

House Republicans’ proposal cuts $11.1 billion from the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which was created under the Inflation Reduction Act to combat the climate crisis?

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), ranking member of the House Appropriations Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, today spoke in strong opposition to House Republicans’ proposed State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs funding bill. In remarks to the Subcommittee, Pingree said Republicans’ proposal that cuts $11.1 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund “is a bad policy decision that will directly lead to loss of life.”

The Inflation Reduction Act authorized EPA to implement the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), a historic $27 billion investment to mobilize financing and private capital to combat the climate crisis and ensure American economic competitiveness. The GGRF will deliver lower energy costs and economic revitalization to communities, particularly those that have historically been left behind.

With $11.1 billion in rescissions from the EPA program in the Inflation Reduction Act, the draft bill includes $52.5 billion for global programs and activities, which is $7.2 billion below the 2023 level, a cut of 15 percent. The legislation:

  • Threatens national security by abdicating U.S. leadership at the United Nations (UN) and other multilateral and international financial institutions by not including any funding for the UN Regular budget, the UN Development Program, UN Women, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Underfunds the operations and staffing of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  
  • Hampers the U.S. response to the climate crisis by eliminating support for adaptation, sustainable landscapes, and clean energy programming.
  • Threatens women’s health globally by prohibiting the United States from contributing to theUnited Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), substantially underfunding bilateral family planning, and reinstating the Global Gag Rule on non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. assistance.

Pingree’s full remarks are copied below:

Thank you, Chair Granger.

As ranking member on the Interior and Environment Subcommittee, I rise to oppose this bill and in particular, the rescission of $11.1 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

 Not only am I concerned about this rescission as a jurisdictional issue – we do not fund the EPA in this bill – I am mostly concerned about the impact this will have on our efforts to address climate change.

There is no doubt that weather events have become stronger and less predictable. We are experiencing longer, and more intense heat waves and hurricanes and floods have become more lethal. 

Earlier this year in Maine, we experienced what many thought would be a run-of-the-mill spring rainstorm.  However, as the storm unfolded, it became much more severe and unpredictable than anyone imagined.

With rainfall rates between 1 to 1.5 inches an hour, widespread flash flooding occurred, rivers crested, and the strong gusty winds, reaching 65 miles per hour, caused excessive power outages, tree damage, and more than $2 million in infrastructure damage. Heavy downpours like these are unfortunately becoming more frequent in Maine.

This storm was so severe that it overwhelmed our state’s ability to respond, and the Governor requested and received a Presidential disaster declaration and assistance from the federal government to help communities recover.  Across the country, FEMA reports that requests for disaster declarations have increased dramatically over the last decade.

These violent storms are not happening at random.  We know that the warming earth is the cause.  We also know that the earth is warming because of an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The greenhouse gas reduction fund is our best attempt to address the climate crisis and improve the resilience of our communities. Rescinding funding for this program is a bad policy decision that will directly lead to loss of life.

 I know that many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have seen the realities of climate change in their own communities – we are all living through that reality right now.  We might not all want to call it climate change – call it whatever you want – but we need to take action to address this problem, not reverse the progress we’ve made.

 I want to end by saying that we all know the rescissions in this bill and in the other appropriations bills are a gimmick.  They highlight how impossible these bills are – that there is no way to properly fund a functioning government at the levels that the majority proposes.

I hope my colleagues will oppose this bill, thank you and I yield back the balance of my time. 


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