July 12, 2016
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers today spoke on the House floor in support of H.R. 5538, the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.
The text of his statement follows:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5538, the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill.
This legislation provides nearly $32.1 billion for agencies charged with managing and protecting our natural resources and our federal lands, as well as Native American programs and other independent agencies.
Within this total, $3.9 billion is dedicated to fighting devastating wildfires – fully funding the 10-year average and increasing funding for programs that help prevent fires from happening in the first place.
The bill increases funding for our commitments to American Indians and Alaska Natives – addressing public safety, health, and education, among other important services.
For rural communities that have nontaxable federal lands – and as a result face huge budget shortfalls that would hurt local government functions – the bill provides full funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program.
This legislation also makes good use of the congressional power of the purse – cutting the EPA by $164 million and slashing its regulatory programs to help stop the Administration’s heavy-handed, onerous regulatory agenda.
Communities across the country rely on coal and other energy production for good jobs, and hard-working Americans expect reasonable energy bills to take care of their families. Relief from the EPA’s job-killing regulations is paramount to the economic growth that our country desperately needs right now – so I’m proud that the bill takes the necessary steps to cut this red tape.
This includes prohibiting funds to change the definitions of “waters” under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act or to enforce the proposed Stream Buffer rule. The legislation also bars the EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations on power plants, and provides flexibility for states to implement new ozone standards.
In all, this is a balanced bill that invests taxpayer dollars in the right priorities and protects against the Administration’s harmful regulatory policies – helping to ensure a brighter future for our nation.
I urge my colleagues to vote “aye” on H.R. 5538.
Thank you, and I yield back.