A cap hill 2

As lawmakers return this week from the July 4th holiday, they will have only until July 15th to act on a number of bills before heading home for the summer recess. Although the legislative schedule is packed, one of the bills that could potentially see floor time next week is the House Appropriation’s Interior and Environment spending bill for fiscal year 2017.  

The legislation, which was approved by the House Appropriation Committee (31-18) last month, provides funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Services, the Indian Health Service, and other related agencies. Overall, the bill provides $32.1 billion in funding, which is a $64 million reduction from fiscal year 2016 enacted levels and $1 billion below President Obama’s budget request.  

Under the spending bill, the EPA would see a reduction of $164 million from FY 2016 levels, which is $291 million below the amount requested in Obama’s budget request. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Land and Water Conservation Fund would also see funding reductions.

Most importantly, the legislation looks to rein in extensive regulatory overreach. Since taking office President Obama, along with the help of agencies such as the EPA, has enacted and proposed an avalanche of costly energy regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and Ozone Rule that threaten the livelihood of millions of Americans and the economy as a whole. 

The EPA-Interior spending bill would not only reduce EPA regulatory programs by 6 percent, but contains a number of provisions that would rein in costly regulations that increase the price of energy in the U.S., reduce GDP, and threaten millions of American jobs. Such provisions include:

  • A prohibition on the EPA from implementing new GHG regulations for new and existing power plants and the elimination of funding for GHG “New Source Performance Standards”;
  • A prohibition preventing EPA changes to the definition of “navigable waters” under the CWA, essentially blocking the “Waters of the U.S. Rule”;
  • A prohibition on new methane regulations and requirements;
  • Provisions to stop economically harmful changes to the “stream buffer rule”; and
  • A rejection of the President’s proposal to increase inspection fees on energy producers.

Speaking on the legislation, House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers stated, “This bill will stop many harmful and unnecessary regulations – by the Environmental Protection Agency and others – that hurt recovering communities and kill jobs.”

The House Rules Committee has now set a Thursday, July 7th deadline for amendments to the EPA-Interior spending bill, so many are optimistic it could see floor time soon. While it will likely receive resistance from President Obama, given the provisions blocking EPA and other agency rules, the bill highlights lawmaker opposition to the increase in bureaucratic regulatory overreach that has grown exponentially under President Obama. 


Photo credit: John Griffiths