House committee cuts key environmental protections

On Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lost 9 percent of their funding. The House Appropriations Committee approved an Interior and Environment bill valued at $30.17 billion. The bill not only cuts EPA funding, but it also blocks key Obama Administration climate rules.

The bill was approved in a mostly party line vote that ignited debate over the EPA regulations. Republicans claim the bill was necessary to combat the administrations “unnecessary, job-killing regulatory agenda,” Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) says.

“This administration has been hell-bent on implementing all sorts of regulations that are harmful to both our economy and our energy security,” Rogers said. “Bill-wide, we have included several important policy provisions aimed to stop this sort of overzealous bureaucratic red tape,” Rogers continues.

Democrats are not pleased with the passing of the bill. According to them the bill blocks a water oversight rule, an upcoming EPA smog rule, and greenhouse gas regulations on power plants. Democrats also railed against another passed provision that blocks funding for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) rule regulating fracturing on federal lands.

The White House also opposes the bill. Shaun Donovan, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Monday that the riders and the funding level are well bellow what the Obama administration proposed for those programs.

The $30.17 billion GOP bill is allocated for the next fiscal year. It decreases funds from the prior year by $246 million, and is $3 billion less that the proposed Obama budget.

The GOP bill does have a few increases in areas for wildfire prevention and programs directed at Native Americans. However, it also decreases the budget for the U.S. Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The bill also has provisions blocking Endangered Species Act listing for some animals.

The bill predictably turned into a fight over government spending with Democrats claiming it cut too deeply in critical areas, while Republicans claim they were merely cutting excess with spending caps that focus on prioritized funding. The Obama proposal did not contain any funding caps.

Even though Democrats will disagree, the Republicans continue to defend the bill and its provisions.


[The Hill]