June 25, 2015
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers gave the following statement in support of H.R. 2822, the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, on the House floor today:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2822, the Fiscal Year 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill.
"This legislation provides $30.17 billion in discretionary funding for programs that preserve and nurture our nation’s unique natural and cultural heritage. This fulfills our responsibility to the American taxpayers to provide funding for these important programs within a smart and sustainable budget.
"Our responsibility to the American taxpayers doesn’t end there, however. The people of this nation expect their government to act in a way that fosters economic development and job creation. This current Administration has been neglecting that duty, instead choosing to push a regulatory agenda that would create an environment hostile to economic growth, that would put our energy independence at risk, and that could cost thousands of hard-working Americans their jobs.
"So this bill takes the important steps to stop this harmful executive overreach. First and foremost, we limit funding for the Environmental Protection Agency – cutting its funding by 9 percent from last year. The bill also prohibits the EPA from implementing a litany of its egregious, expensive regulations, including applying new greenhouse gas regulations for power plants, updating existing ozone regulations, and changing the definitions of “navigable waters” and “fill material” – all of which could spell disaster for our economy.
"The bill also prevents the Bureau of Land Management from hampering economic growth by halting increases in oil and gas inspection fees, and from burdening ranchers with higher grazing fees.
"Provisions like these will help get the government out of the way of growth – preventing the overregulation and over-taxation of American business and industry, and keeping down manufacturing costs and utility bills for families across the country.
"In addition, this bill also focuses funding on other, important Department of the Interior and related programs. For instance, the bill creates a new $30 million program to help accelerate the reclamation of abandoned mine lands, boosting local community redevelopment.
"The bill also fulfills our moral and legal obligations to American Indians and Alaska Natives – increasing funding for programs that will help improve education systems, health facilities, and other infrastructure.
"And the bill prioritizes the prevention of and preparation for wildland fires, increasing funding for these programs bill-wide by $52 million.
"Overall, Mr. Speaker, we have a very fine appropriations bill before us today. I want to commend Chairman Calvert for his good work on this bill. He, the Ranking Member, and the Subcommittee have done a thorough job on this bill, and I am proud to support it. I also want to thank the staff for their work to bring this bill to the floor today.
"Before I close, I would like to take a moment to recognize one of my staff members, Mike Robinson, who will be moving on to greener pastures next week. Mike started working for me nearly 20 years ago and has had several tenures in my personal office. Four years ago, he joined the Appropriations Committee as Coalitions and Members Services Director. Many of my colleagues have gotten the chance to know Mike over these past four years. He has answered your questions, helped you offer amendments, and helped guide dozens of Appropriations bills to passage. He has been an integral part of the staff over the years, and we will miss him greatly when he departs. Thank you, Mike, for all of your hard work – we are very grateful.
"Mr. Speaker, this is an appropriations bill that puts our nation’s economy first. It preserves the role of the federal government, making sure the government is doing its job well – not in a way that intrudes into the lives of American businesses or the American people, but in a way that encourages our economy to grow and thrive. I urge my colleagues to support it today.
"Thank you, and I yield back."