House Spending Bill Would Cut EPA Budget for FY 2015

Under a House spending bill released last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would get?9 percent less?funding in 2015 from 2014, and would see?its staffing level capped at 1989 levels.

The bill, the 2015 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, released by the House Appropriations Committee, includes funding for the Department of the Interior, EPA, the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service and various independent and related agencies.

The measure would provide $1 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $757 million for the Drinking Water SRF as well as $10 million for grants to support water and wastewater project in Alaskan villages. Another $1 billion is allocated for grants to support state and tribal programs to implement and enforce federal environmental regulations, including Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. It would also prohibit EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations and?adopting proposed changes to the definition of ?navigable waters? and ?fill materials? under the Clean Water Act.

In total, the bill includes $30.2 billion in base funding, an increase of $162 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and a reduction of $409 million below the President?s request. This includes a one-time payment of $442 million for ?Payments in Lieu of Taxes? (PILT) ? which provides funds to local communities with large areas of federal land to help offset losses in property taxes ? and $4.1 billion to prevent and combat devastating wildland fires. In addition, the legislation also includes policy provisions to stop unnecessary, job-killing regulations by federal agencies such as the EPA.

?This legislation contains important provisions to rein in the harmful regulatory overreach of federal bureaucracies that will unnecessarily cause job loss and that will weaken our recovering economy,? said House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers.

Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert also commented on the bill. ?The Interior and Environment bill provides the agencies within its jurisdiction with the resources necessary to carry out their mission in times that are fiscally challenging,? said Calvert. ?This bill also protects Americans from the onslaught of job-killing regulations coming from the EPA and makes difficult decisions to carefully balance national priorities.?

Bill Highlights

The bill funds the EPA at $7.5 billion, a reduction of $717 million ? or 9 percent ? below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Administrative funding for the agency is cut by $24 million, including a 50 percent reduction to the Office of the Administrator, the Office of Congressional Affairs and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. In addition, staffing levels at the EPA are held to 15,000, the lowest level since 1989. These reductions will help the agency streamline operations and focus its activities on core duties, rather than unnecessary regulatory expansion.

The legislation also includes provisions to stop various harmful, costly, and potentially job-killing regulations by the EPA. For example, the bill prohibits the EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants, changes to the definition of ?navigable waters? under the Clean Water Act and changes to the definition of ?fill material.??

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