Thursday, July 07, 2011

Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Supports Significant Cuts to the EPA and Department of the Interior

The House Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior and Environment met on the morning of Thursday, July 7th to discuss the draft fiscal 2012 spending bill. The subcommittee approved the $ 27.5 billion measure in a vote of 8-5, with all Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats opposed.

The EPA received $7.1 billion, a $1.5 billion cut from 2011’s appropriations and $1.8 billion less than the Obama administration’s request. Subcommittee chairman Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) supported the cuts remarking that stimulus funding, some of which he said remains unobligated, is the key reason for cutbacks. A majority of the reductions were to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving fund, both which supply funding to state and local water infrastructure. The draft also included policy riders that would limit the EPA in several areas-including:

  • A one-year delay of EPA regulations on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from stationary industrial sources
  • Language that prohibits the agency from regulating coal ash produced by power plants as hazardous waste
  • An amendment to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act which states that permits will no longer be required for pesticide use that creates discharge from a point source to navigable water.
  • A block to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s use of appropriations to pursue new listings under the Endangered Species Act

The Interior Department also received funding cut-backs when they were allocated $9.9 billion, a $720 million reduction from current funding levels and $1.2 billion less than the Administration’s request. The full committee is expected to consider the bill on July 12, 2011.

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