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eeADVOCATE Federal Budget Updates

Welcome to this preview of the latest edition of eeADVOCATE, NAAEE’s quarterly newsletter for all things policy in the world of environmental education. (Not on the list? Subscribe to eeADVOCATE here.) We’re featuring recent state policy wins, FY23 federal budget requests, and opportunities to stay connected with eeAdvocates around the globe. If you’ve got ideas for policy stories we should highlight, feel free to reach out to sarah@naaee.org. We want to hear from you! 

FY23 Federal Budget Updates

We are thrilled to see the [House] subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Other Agencies include an unprecedented $14M for the National Environmental Education Act!

— Sarah Bodor

We’re feeling cautiously hopeful about the prospects for environmental education funding in the EPA budget for the next fiscal year. House appropriators are marking up bills this week, and we are thrilled to see the subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Other Agencies include an unprecedented $14M for the National Environmental Education Act! This would raise the level of funding to support EE at EPA to the full authorized level. The full Appropriations Committee also approved a bill this week that would provide NOAA's Office of Education with more than $40M--an increase of $6.6M, which would include an addtional $1M for the regional BWET grant program. Of course, the Senate still poses a hurdle in both of these cases, but the outcomes in the House are something to celebrate! Thank you to all those who have reached out to your Representatives to let them know how important EPA’s and NOAA's environmental education programs are for local communities and organizations. 

A few more items we’re tracking in the FY23 budget process…

  1. The Interior Environment subcommittee report also includes funds and support for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to leverage urban wildlife refuges for engaging new audiences in outdoor recreation and conservation and "to work with partners to support year-round environmental education for youth and adults of all ages living in urban settings." 

  2. In its FY23 budget request, the U.S. Department of Education asked for funds to establish a new Office of School Infrastructure and Sustainability. While the request was minimal—just $3M—this small innovation at U.S. ED could open the door for new opportunities to disseminate resources for greening schools and making sure school buildings and grounds are designed for resilience, climate change mitigation, and nature-based learning experiences. The House subcommittee report reflects strong support for the concept. We are closely monitoring efforts on the Senate side to equip that office with larger sums of money to support pilot projects in sustainable school facilities. 

  3. All things climate change education—from workforce development to service corps programs, to grants for education, we are doing our best to see where funding allocations and Congressional priorities across agencies may form a mosaic of new and expanded opportunities to advance climate literacy. We'll keep you posted as we learn more!