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Chairman Rogers Statement Before Interior and Environment Subcommittee on FY12 Appropriations Bill


Washington, Jul 7 -

"I thank the Chairman for yielding, and I congratulate him on completing the FY12 Interior Appropriations Bill. Mr. Simpson, Mr. Moran and staff on both sides have worked tirelessly to bring this important legislation before the subcommittee today.

 

"Unquestionably our nation has found itself at a crossroads. We’re borrowing 40-plus cents on every dollar to support an unprecedented deficit and record-setting debt. This trajectory is simply unsustainable if we are to grow our economy and reverse these startling unemployment trends.

 

"This Congress has taken impressive strides to get our country’s fiscal house in order and put Americans back to work. This is perhaps most apparent through the work of this Committee in the FY12 Appropriations process. This bill is no exception. The FY12 Interior Appropriations bill includes $27.5 billion – a cut of over $2 billion – to fund programs within the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, Indian Health Service, and other agencies.

 

"The programs funded in the Interior bill touch every community in our nation, and after 22 oversight hearings, more than any other subcommittee, I am confident this subcommittee has made the difficult decision to pinpoint and cut extraneous, duplicative and unnecessary programs. These cuts were not easy, but they are responsible – and they are moving our country in the right direction by prioritizing funding for programs with the most benefit to American families and businesses.

 

"Of note, the bill includes full funding for fire suppression at the 10-year average and increases funding for the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to hire new inspectors and move forward with offshore oil and gas leasing while also improving safety. The bill also contains sufficient funding to ensure that our national parks continue to provide the high levels of services to Americans and visitors across the country.

 

"And, as Chairman Simpson mentioned, the Environmental Protection Agency is perhaps under the microscope more than any other federal entity at present. There is no denying that the mission of the EPA is vital to maintaining our standard of living and the health of our citizens, as well as preventing and mitigating environmental degradation. But, this agency is the poster child for this Administration’s widespread regulatory overreach, having vastly overstepped the authority granted by this Congress. Americans from the hills of Appalachia to the plains of the Midwest recognize that EPA is running absolutely roughshod over our country’s small businesses in nearly every sector of the economy – agriculture, manufacturing, construction, transportation. These are the very engines that propel our economy forward, and yet 70 percent say they have no plans to hire in the next year because of economic uncertainty and inflationary pressures.

 

"That’s why, when Administrator Jackson testified before this committee, I told her that we were obliged to end EPA’s constitutionally dubious “legislation by regulation” – and that it was time for Congress to rein her agency in. Members on both sides of the aisle have taken issue with EPA, and this bill sends a strong message by capping EPA personnel and taking explicit action to address EPA’s wrong-headed greenhouse gas regulations, its de facto moratorium on mining permits in Appalachia and its obstruction of OCS permitting, to name a few. I am hopeful that these provisions are sufficient to prod EPA in the right direction, but I suspect that we will hear from Members of all walks as this bill moves through the process.

 

"It is a testament to the diligence of this subcommittee and the Chairman that such significant savings have been realized, some $2.1 billion, while maintaining funding for programs and projects of vital importance to our nation. I am pleased that we are moving through regular order on this year’s appropriations bills, upholding our commitment to the American people to reduce the size and scope of government through this process. I urge that the subcommittee promptly report this bill to the full Committee."