Biden’s first budget: Billions for clean energy, environment and public health

WASHINGTON – President Biden’s first budget proposal marks a dramatic shift in priorities away from the Trump administration, proposing billions for critical environmental, public health and clean energy programs.

The $1.52 trillion budget blueprint for FY 2022, released today by the White House Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, increases funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by more than a fifth over this year’s funding. It also includes big increases for drinking water infrastructure, development of clean energy to address the climate crisis, and much more.

“President Biden’s budget reflects his pledge to rebuild and strengthen the federal government’s commitment to safeguarding human health and the environment from pollution,” said EWG President Ken Cook.

“For the last four years, the EPA and other agencies charged with protecting the public from dirty air, tainted drinking water and toxic chemicals were hobbled, as the Trump administration did everything possible to appease polluters, at great cost to Americans’ health. This budget plan underscores the president’s commitment to reversing the damage done, and his promise to make environmental protection a top priority.”  

Some notable line items in the Biden budget proposal, which now goes to Congress for consideration, include:

  • More than $46 billion for the Department of Energy, an increase of more than 10 percent. Much of the funding would go to advancing research and development in renewable energy.
  • Over $11 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a more than 21 percent increase over this year.
  • More than $10 billion, in what OMB called “clean energy innovation,” to combat the climate crisis and help transition the electric, transportation, building and industrial sectors to “a net-zero carbon economy” by 2050.
  • $3.6 billion for drinking water infrastructure, an increase of $625 million. That includes $75 million to speed the process of designating the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS as hazardous substances and setting legal limits for PFAS in drinking water.
  • $1.4 billion for environmental justice programs, including $936 million for the EPA to help fenceline communities reduce pollution.

“President Biden is making a solid down payment on his pledge to address decades of environmental racism and the stark inequities it has inflicted on entire generations of Americans,” said Cook. “No one should be forced to live in communities where contaminated water and dirty air threaten the health of their families, especially children.”

During the Trump administration, investments in clean energy were rolled back, as the White House tried to prop up dirty and dangerous energy sources like coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Cook said Biden’s agenda to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and tailpipes will not only address the climate crisis but also create millions of well-paid jobs.  

“During the last four years, the federal government wasted valuable time ignoring the climate crisis,” Cook said. “The Biden administration must work to ensure that all federal resources are focused on speeding the nation’s transition to 100 percent clean, safe, renewable energy.”


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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