Casten Amendment Preventing the Limitation of Climate Modeling, Passes House in 2nd Appropriations Minibus Bill

June 26, 2019
Press Release
Congressman Casten’s amendment will help ensure government assessment of Climate Change

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) won approval by the full House of his climate science amendment to the House-passed H.R. 3055, the Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Act of 2020. Casten’s amendment landed in the Interior-Environment portion of the Appropriations Minibus Bill, which will fund the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for fiscal year 2020.

Casten’s amendment aims to help protect the scientific integrity of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), an entity that falls under the Department of the Interior and is one of the government agencies responsible for climate modeling. The amendment would block the Trump Administration’s efforts to limit climate modeling that projects the long-term impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise and food shortages.

The amendment was prompted by a recent New York Times report that the Director of USGS James Reilly was considering a plan to limit the length of the agency’s climate model projections, stopping the modeling at year 2040.

Casten said, “I am proud that my colleagues have adopted my amendment to protect the integrity of the USGS’ climate modeling efforts. If we are going to successfully address the crisis that is climate change then we need to have accurate, long-term modeling. How can we prepare our communities and businesses for the future impacts of climate change if we do not fully understand what is ahead?

“The recent reporting by the New York Times is troubling and thus, why it is important that Congress fulfills our Constitutional role as a check on the Trump Administration and protect science’s role in our government. I urge the Senate to quickly pass this Minibus Appropriations Bill in its current form. We have a moral obligation to act on climate change.”

Kirin Kennedy, Deputy Legislative Director for Lands and Wildlife, Sierra Club said, "We applaud Rep. Casten for acting to protect the integrity of climate science. In the face of the real and present dangers of climate change, we cannot afford for our government to censor science and limit climate action.”

Elgie Holstein, Senior Director for Strategic Planning, EDF Action said, “Rep. Casten’s amendment is a commonsense addition to the minibus and we’re glad to see it included in the final package.”

Anne Kelly, Vice President of Government Relations, Ceres said, “Businesses rely on scientific information to make sound choices and the government should too. Climate modeling tools can help agencies and policy makers make informed decisions and plan for the future. It is important to rely on the best science available in order to understand the impacts of climate change."

Howard Learner, Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) said, “We can’t ignore the science when it comes to the dangers of climate change. We strongly support Representative Casten’s amendment especially because the Great Lakes region is warming faster than other parts of the country.  It's necessary to advance climate modeling and scientific research in order to drive effective solutions to protect our region from devastating impacts.”

This amendment was supported by several leading environmental conservation organizations, including The Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), EDF Action, Ceres, Earthjustice, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), ELPC, and Defenders of Wildlife.

H.R. 3055 passed the House and last week, Casten voted to pass H.R. 2740, the First Minibus Package that would fund the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State, and Energy throughout the next year. The bills now heads to the Senate for consideration.