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EPA Announces $524 Million Investment to Improve Health of Waterways and Oceans as Biden-Harris Administration Celebrates Earth Week

Apr 18, 2022

WASHINGTON — As the Biden-Harris Administration celebrates Earth Week, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a $542 million investment to reduce pollution and plastic waste in our shared oceans. The significant investment is substantially funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The investment was announced by EPA Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs Jane Nishida at the 7th Our Ocean Conference in Palau. At the Conference, Assistant Administrator Nishida, together with Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, represented the United States and affirmed the nation’s commitment to work with a broad international coalition to protect our shared oceans and combat the climate crisis.

“Thanks to funding from EPA and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we’re able to make significant investments in the health of our shared oceans,” said EPA Assistant Administrator Jane Nishida. “The vast majority of the plastic trash entering our oceans is due to inadequate waste management.  EPA is committed to reducing plastic waste from the United States and we look forward to working with governments around the world to reduce the threat to ocean ecosystems.”

EPA’s funding is part of a package totaling $895 million that will address marine pollution through the implementation of 21 commitments undertaken by a number of agencies including EPA, the U.S. Agency for International Development, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, the Department of State, the Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

EPA’s commitments include $350 million in improvements to recycling infrastructure and education, $132 million for the National Estuary Program in infrastructure improvements to reduce pollutant loadings into freshwater ecosystems and the ocean, and an additional $60 million to support Mississippi River states, Ohio and Indiana as they reduce nutrients in our waterways to shrink the size of the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

While in Palau, Assistant Administrator Nishida also participated in bilateral meetings with EPA partners and attended the opening of Embassy Koror that will be the first net-zero U.S. mission in the world.

The Our Ocean Conference puts a spotlight on the commitments of countries, civil society and industry that are taking significant action to protect the oceans and was first established by then Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014.

Watch Assistant Administrator Nishida’s remarks at the Our Ocean Conference here.

Building a Brighter, Healthier Future for All
Since day one of this administration, President Biden has restored U.S. climate leadership on the world stage and mobilized an unprecedented effort to tackle climate change and build a healthier environment for all people. President Biden and the Administration have taken decisive action to reduce emissions and grow a clean energy economy, while creating jobs, advancing environmental justice, and delivering clean water, land, and air for Americans.

EPA is at the heart of the President's ambitious climate and environment agenda and the agency is aggressively using its rulemaking authority to deliver emissions reductions and protect people from harmful pollution.

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