Thursday, July 8, 2021

HR 4372 Introduced – FY 2022 IER Spending

Earlier this week Rep Pingree (D,ME) introduced HR 4372, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2022. The House Appropriations Committee Report on the bill was also published. There were no cyber provisions in the bill (beyond agency internal cyber spending), but there are two cybersecurity ‘mentions in passing’. Continued CSB funding is included in the bill.

CSB Funding

The bill (pgs 131-2) provides FY 2022 funding for the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) at $13.4 million, this is an increase over the $12 million allocated in last year’s bill (HR 7612) and is the amount requested in the Biden Budget. This marks a change from the Trump effort to close out the Agency.

The report notes (pg 134) the fact that there is currently only one of the five authorized Board members currently approved by the Senate. Biden has nominated three more Board members, those nominations are pending in the Senate.

Cybersecurity Mentions in Passing

During the discussion about ‘marijuana on public lands’ (pg 8) the Report discusses the use of drones to conduct remote sensing surveys to identify grow sites. The Committee supports those efforts and allows for “the development of cost estimates for reclamation after concerns about [drone] cybersecurity, technology, and domestic production have been addressed.”

In the discussion of homeland security within the EPA (pg 80) the report notes:

“The Committee is aware of reports of cyber intrusions into critical water infrastructure and notes the continuing vulnerability of the water sector to cyberthreats. The Agency is directed to periodically brief the Committee on the actions it is taking to protect against this and other threats.”

Moving Forward

This bill will be brought to the floor of the House later this month. The bill will be considered under regular order with a rule establishing the length of debate and the (numerous) amendments that will be allowed to be offered on the floor. The bill should pass on a near party-line vote. If the recent pass is any predictor (and I think that it is in this case, particularly), the Senate will not get around to taking up the bill because of their inability to craft language that would get support from 60-Senators. We will see the now typical December omnibus spending bill.

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