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Appropriations Committee Approves Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Bill
Priorities include: reining in regulatory overreach, responsibly using the nation’s natural resources, fighting devastating wildfires, and promoting safe and reliable drinking water

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Washington, June 15, 2016 -

The House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill. The legislation includes funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service, and various independent and related agencies.

In total, the bill provides $32.1 billion, $64 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $1 billion below the President’s budget request. Included is $480 million to fully fund “Payments in Lieu of Taxes” (PILT) – which provides funds to local communities with federal land to help offset losses in property taxes – and $3.9 billion for the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service to prevent and combat devastating wildfires. The bill also includes funding to help address the problem of lead in drinking water across the United States.

In addition, the legislation contains policy provisions to stop bureaucratic regulatory overreach that harm U.S. industries and hinder economic and job growth.

“This bill invests in federal programs to help address critical current needs and to guarantee a brighter future for our nation. These programs promote the responsible use of our natural resources, fight devastating wildfires, and improve the quality of life for families across the country,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. “Further, the bill reins in federal bureaucracy to stop many harmful and unnecessary regulations that destroy economic opportunity and kill jobs.”

 “Job creation and wage growth continue to be stifled because American job creators wake up every day worrying about what new regulation the Obama administration will issue next. The EPA’s overreach continues to cause economic harm, and this bill denies funding for more job-killing regulations while providing necessary resources to effective programs that actually improve the environment and protect our natural resources,” Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert said. “In addition, I am pleased that the bill will once again provide increases for our incredible National Parks as they celebrate their Centennial this year, and continue progress on a functional Earthquake Early Warning System.”

The following amendments to the bill were adopted by the full committee today:

Rep. Calvert – The Manager’s amendment makes technical and noncontroversial changes to the bill and report. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Culberson – The amendment requires the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to complete two studies related to air quality standards prior to finalizing any rule to regulate such air emissions from offshore operations. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 31-16.

Rep. Simpson – The amendment adds bill language requiring the Bureau of Land Management to provide additional time for public comment before finalizing its proposed land management planning regulation. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote. 

Rep. Stewart/Rep. Israel – The amendment adds bill language to simplify the process for federal agencies, states, and local governments to utilize wild horses and burros as work animals, as requested by the administration. It includes protections for horses or burros transferred through this process. The amendment was adopted in a voice vote.

Rep. Aderholt –The amendment changes bill language requiring that all iron and steel used in water infrastructure projects be sourced within the United States. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.Rep. Cole – The amendment reaffirms the status of lands taken into trust between 1934 and 2009 on behalf of federally recognized tribes. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Amodei – The amendment modifies bill language to address concerns with the Department of the Interior’s implementation of sage-grouse conservation plans.  The amendment was adopted on a vote of 29-20.

Rep. Yoder – The amendment adds bill language supporting the removal of the lesser prairie chicken from the threatened list, which has recently occurred, and to help prevent the species from being re-listed. The amendment was adopted on voice vote.

Rep. Fortenberry – The amendment adds bill language requiring the Indian Health Service (IHS) to establish governance boards at IHS-run hospitals to improve accountability. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.

Rep. Valadao – The amendment adds language to the bill directing the use of existing regulatory flexibility to maximize water deliveries to areas of California  most hard-hit by the drought, and to maintain senior water rights, the longest holder of water rights in California, while protecting listed species under the Endangered Species Act. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 31-18.

 

Rep. Stewart – The amendment prohibits funding for the President to designate certain geographical areas as a national monument. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 27-22.

The bill was approved on a vote of 31-18.

For a summary of the bill, please visit: /news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=394564

For the text of the bill, please visit:

/UploadedFiles/BILLS-114HR-SC-AP-FY2017-Interior-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf

For the bill report, please visit:

/uploadedfiles/hrpt-114-hr-fy2017-interior.pdf

 

 

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