GOP Appropriations Introduce Slash-And-Burn Budget With Polluter Riders, 20 Percent EPA Cut

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Interior Approps Chair

Republicans have officially unveiled a slash-and-burn budget plan for the environment, with drastic cuts to environmental agencies and numerous riders to exempt polluters from science-based regulation. The House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, to be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation includes major cuts in funding for the Department of the Interior, the EPA, the Forest Service, and various independent and related agencies.

This Tea Party budget eviscerates protections for air, water, and land while delivering industry lobbyists a grab-bag of favors. The bill denies not only the threat of global warming pollution, but also that of formaldehyde, coal ash, and pesticides. The bill cuts EPA funding by $1.8 billion, or 20 percent, below President Obama’s request, and caps employment at 1992 levels. The bill restores $55 million in offshore oil and gas subsides. The bill overrules the Department of Interior’s provisional decision to protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining (Sec. 445).

Some of the many riders in the budget bill include:


— A provision expanding permitting activities for the Outer Continental Shelf, and restricting EPA rules for air pollution on exploration permits (Sec. 433)


— A provision prohibiting the Office of Surface Mining from moving forward with proposed updates to the “stream buffer rule” (Sec. 432)

— A provision prohibiting federal agencies from working together on mountaintop removal permitting (Sec. 433)

— A provision prohibiting funds for defining coal ash as hazardous waste (Sec. 434)


— A provision instituting a one-year prohibition on the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources (Sec. 431)

— A provision providing exemptions from greenhouse gas reporting for certain agricultural activities (Sec. 429)

— A provision prohibiting greenhouse gas permitting for livestock emissions (Sec. 428)

— A provision requiring the president report on all executive-branch spending related to climate change in 2011 and 2012 (Sec. 426)


— A provision prohibiting the EPA from changing the definition of “navigable waterways” under the Clean Water Act (Sec. 435)

— A provision prohibiting funds for the EPA from expanding storm water discharge requirements (Sec. 439)

— A provision restricting EPA regulation of formaldehyde (Sec. 444)

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