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FY24 President’s Budget: Oceans and Environment in Brief

Today, President Biden released his FY24 Budget, a key step in the appropriations process for the 2024 fiscal year. This high-level budget plan will be used by Congress—or not, depending on politics—to inform the appropriations bills that direct federal spending. The White House also released a series of fact sheets highlighting specific proposed investments.

While we are still waiting for agency-specific Congressional Justifications and the NOAA Blue Book, the President’s Budget does offer insight into the administration's expressed priorities for FY24. Threads woven throughout the budget include climate change mitigation and resilience, domestic clean energy expansion, balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders when developing solutions to global challenges, environmental justice, and providing support to underserved communities.

Fisheries and Ecosystems

The budget includes more than $24 billion for building community resilience to drought, extreme weather events, and natural disasters, as well as for expanding conservation and ecosystem management.

Some funding in the budget is divided amongst the six key focus areas in the America the Beautiful (30 by 30) Initiative, with one emphasis on halting nature loss by providing targeted increases for biodiversity programs such as Endangered Species Act implementation, the National Wildlife Refuge System, Tribal stewardship and co-management, the first-ever national nature assessment, and international conservation efforts. The budget also provides $25.5 million to develop the Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, which aims to help inform conservation decisions, $87 million to support National Marine Sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas, $20 million for the Coastal Program, $92.8 million for Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) environmental programs, and $80 million to support the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program for voluntary conservation on private lands.

The budget also proposes to expand existing transfer authority by enabling federal agencies to transfer funds—provided under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFSW) and NOAA Fisheries—to improve efficiencies and increase capacity for environmental planning and consultation.

Ocean Data and Technology

The budget highlights the need to boost American innovation and reestablish American leadership in research and scientific discovery, with an emphasis on strengthening U.S. global leadership on developing technologies of the future. Among the identified pathways for success is establishing and accelerating dynamic, collaborative networks for research and innovation. Related investments include $8.8 billion for DOE’s Office of Science and $1.2 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Support for modernizing America’s port and waterway infrastructure, initiated under the IIJA, is continued in the budget. This includes $230 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program to strengthen maritime freight capacity. Priority would be given to projects that improve efficiency and also lower emissions to reduce environmental impact in and around U.S. ports.

Other technology investments outlined in the budget include $11.3 billion for developing innovative technologies that accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, $75 million for the Department of Energy (DOE) to carry out the president’s recent determinations under the Defense Production Act to enhance domestic supply chain capacity for climate technologies, and a $1.2 billion loan to the Clean Technology Fund.

The budget also supports the development of a federal climate data portal to provide the public with accessible information on historical and projected climate impacts, inform decision-making, and strengthen community resilience.

Offshore Wind and Energy

Energy-related investments outlined in the budget revolve around enhancing American capacity for clean energy development and production, combating climate change, and expanding industry workforces.

The budget includes a $11.9 billion investment in DOE climate and clean energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment, $4.5 billion to build out clean energy infrastructure, $60 million to expand offshore wind permitting activities at NOAA, and $123 million for DHS to support market-shaping investments in zero-emission vehicles.

What's Next?

Congressional appropriators will take these numbers, the additional details provided in forthcoming Congressional Justifications, and member priorities into account as they draft FY24 appropriations bills. We expect to see appropriations hearings begin next month, with markups in May and June. We will continue to keep an eye out for agency-specific Congressional Justification documents and will provide analysis to our clients as they are released.

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