Mr. SIMPSON. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to bring to the floor H.R. 2584, the fiscal year 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.
As we begin, I want to personally thank Mr. Moran, Mr. Dicks, and each of the members of our subcommittee for their active participation in the bipartisan spirit that has been part of our deliberations this year. Regardless of our positions on this bill, I do sincerely appreciate their constructive contributions. [Page: H5411]
Mr. Chairman, we're living at a time when the Federal Government borrows more than 40 cents on each dollar that it spends. We are also living in a time of record deficits and debt. While reductions in discretionary spending alone will not totally erase the deficit, we all know that reducing Federal spending is a necessary first step.
The fiscal year 2012 Interior and Environment bill is funded at $27.5 billion, which is $2.1 billion, or 7 percent below the fiscal year enacted level, and $3.8 billion, or 12 percent below the budget request.
Overall, funding within this bill is essentially level within fiscal year 2009 spending. The subcommittee has made some very difficult choices in preparing this budget proposal. In total, 235 Members of the House submitted over 1,700 programmatic requests to the subcommittee for consideration.
While the bill makes significant spending reductions across many agencies and programs, it also provides ample funding to address the needs of key accounts supported by a bipartisan cross-section of Members. For instance, fire suppression at the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service is fully funded at the 10-year average.
The bill includes a $37 million increase over fiscal year 2011 for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to hire new inspectors and move forward with offshore oil and gas permitting and leasing while also improving safety. And Members will be pleased to know that the operations of our national parks are sustained at levels only slightly below last year, which means every park unit in the country will be operational and fully staffed without the threat of furloughs or layoffs.
Finally, this bill also makes critical investments in Indian Country. Building upon efforts initiated by Mr. Dicks and Mr. Moran, this bill continues to make investments in human health and wellness programs in Indian Country, affecting health care, education, and self-determination. Overall, the Department of the Interior is funded at $9.9 billion, which is a $715 million, or 7 percent, reduction below last year's enacted level.
As I mentioned, we've done some things that Secretary Salazar will support. The Secretary and I have had many discussions about these issues as well as some areas where funding isn't what he would like to see. One of those areas relates to the funding of the Endangered Species Act.
Since the ESA was enacted, there have been 2,018 species listed and only 21 species recovered. By any calculation, that's a pretty poor track record. Any other program with such a poor rate of success would have long since been terminated. There isn't one member of this subcommittee opposed to recovering endangered species; but the ESA has become so contentious, so political, and so litigious that it has become a policy failure. The authorization for the ESA appropriation expired 20 years ago,
and the assumption has been that the Appropriations Committee would continue to fund it year in and year out, as it has in the past.
In fact, Members might be interested to know that 26 percent of the funding in this bill is for programs in which the authorizations have expired. That's not how the process is supposed to work, Mr. Chairman. And just as we are going back to regular order and passing appropriation bills, we need to return to regular order when it comes to working with the authorizers to update and fix laws that no longer work or have expired.
It's time to fix the ESA. The best way to do that is for the authorizers and stakeholders in the conservation community to come to the table to fix what is broken so we can actually begin recovering species. We are sending that message today.
Climate change is another item of interest to members of this committee. Most of the Members know that I am not a climate change naysayer. The fact is that climate change funding has been increasing over the past few years, and no one has any idea how or whether its funding is being coordinated between various agencies. The GAO came to the same conclusion in a report released in May of this year. The GAO said: ``Without further improvement in how Federal climate change funding is defined and
reported, strategic priorities are set, and funding is aligned with priorities, it will be difficult for the public and Congress to fully understand how climate change funds are accounted for and how they are spent.'' As a result of this ongoing concern, climate change funding in this bill is reduced by $83 million, or 22 percent.
The bill also makes significant reductions in funding for land acquisition. Land acquisition was funded at $301 million in the current fiscal year. The President had requested $900 million for next year. We funded it at $66 million in this bill to complete land acquisitions currently under consideration. I would personally like to see more funding in the LWCF. The problem is, we just don't have the money.
It's also worth noting that while we increase funding for oil and gas rig inspections, we don't pay for them by including the President's proposed $38 million increase for additional onshore gas and oil fees or the $55 million increase for additional offshore oil and gas fees. These issues are best left to the authorizing committees of jurisdiction. And I hope that by next year, the authorizing committees will address this issue.
There are a few other items that may be of interest to Members that I'll mention briefly: The U.S.
Geological Survey is funded at $1.1 billion, which is $30 million, or 3 percent, below the FY11-enacted level. The next-generation LandSat satellite imaging program, which has been a cooperative venture with NASA, was proposed to be transferred entirely to USGS without any corresponding funding from NASA. Because projected costs are estimated to increase tenfold over the next 2 years and because LandSat is a widely used governmental and private sector resource, this bill sends the proposal back
to the administration with instructions to start over.
Within the EPA, the bill includes $15 million for a new competitive grant program to fund rural water technical assistance, which is widely supported on both sides of the aisle. The NEA and the NEH are both funded at $135 million, which is a level too low for some Members and too high for others. It's worth noting that both sides worked together in a effort to maintain several longstanding proven programs that the administration had slated for termination.
The bill provides funding for the Smithsonian at levels just below the FY11-enacted level and includes $50 million to begin construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and $75 million for revitalization of existing Smithsonian buildings. The bill also provides a $30 million down payment to begin construction next year of a memorial to honor the memory of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
I suspect that most of the headlines from House consideration of this bill will focus on the committee's attention to the EPA. We need to continue funding the EPA in order for business to obtain the necessary permits to operate in accord with the environmental laws.
Through EPA funding, we also continue to address our Nation's critical water and wastewater infrastructure needs. However, one of the major underlying themes to this year's work is the sheer volume of regulatory actions being pursued by agencies in the absence of legislation and without clear congressional direction.
My intense opposition to the EPA's efforts to control nearly every industry in this country is no secret. The EPA's unrestrained effort to regulate greenhouse gases and the pursuit of an overly aggressive regulatory agenda are signs of an agency that has lost its bearings.
Wherever I go, the biggest complaint I hear about the Federal Government is about how the EPA is creating economic uncertainty and killing jobs. This isn't a partisan issue. Members of both parties have said that the EPA's regulatory actions vastly exceed its authority and congressional intent. The responsibility to determine whether or not to expand that authority rests solely with Congress, not with the EPA. We have included a number of provisions in the base bill to address some of these issues
and more were added in full committee. We saw during consideration of H.R. 1 earlier this year and we will see again on the House floor even more efforts to rein in the EPA. [Page: H5412]
I know some of my Democrat friends will be especially critical of the spending reductions in EPA accounts. While we all recognize the importance of the clean drinking water and safe drinking water State revolving funds, we also know funding them, as we have in the past, is not possible. We need to find a better long-term funding source for water infrastructure projects, something that a number of Members have been working on.
It's also worth pointing out that these accounts received $6 billion in Recovery Act funds in 2009 and still have nearly $3 billion in previously appropriated funding that they have yet to spend. In calendar year 2009, the EPA received over $25 billion in combined stimulus funding and regular appropriation. So it should come as no surprise that the funding for the EPA was reduced by $1.5 billion, or 18 percent, from current levels.
Much will be said today about the subcommittee's allocation of the policy provisions in this bill; but just remember, at the end of the day, what this committee is attempting to do is all about reducing spending, creating more certainty in the marketplace, and promoting an economic environment conducive to job growth. If there's one thing that we should have learned in the last couple of years, it's that we can't spend our way to an economic recovery. That didn't work. All it did was make the
hole we're in much deeper.
I know Mr. Moran and Mr. Dicks may not agree, but the legislative provisions in this bill and those that will be added today and on the House floor, they are not special interests. They're about jobs. They're about protecting businesses and hardworking Americans from frivolous lawsuits. They're about creating certainty in the marketplace, and they're about assuring businesses that employ people that it's safe to begin hiring people again without the threat of the EPA, under
the guise of protecting our environment, imposing millions of dollars of penalties through regulations that are unreasonable or simply defy common sense.
Is this a perfect bill? No. But I've never seen a perfect bill. This is a bill that makes some very tough choices on spending. It's a bill that attempts to rein in the excesses of the EPA, and it's a bill that sends a clear message to stakeholders in Congress that it's time to get busy on renewing expiring authorizations. I wish we had more money to spend on a variety of programs that I, and other Members, believe are important. I also wish we didn't have a $1.6 trillion deficit. I wish we weren't
$14.5 trillion in debt. I wish the economy was booming and that unemployment was something we only read about in history books. Unfortunately, wishing doesn't make it so. These are the economic and political realities that we have to face.
In closing, I'd like to thank the staff on both sides of the aisle for their hard work in producing this bill. Most Members don't realize how much time and effort staff members put into this. On the minority side, I'd like to thank Rick Healy and Shalanda Young, as well as Tim Aiken and Pete Modaff. They have played an integral role in the process, and their efforts are very much appreciated.
On the majority side, I'd like to thank the subcommittee staff: Colin Vickery, Grace Stephens, who, by the way, just had a baby last week--she held off until she was sure we had this bill through the full committee--Erica Rhoad, Jason Gray, Darren Benjamin, and Dave LesStrang. I'd also like to thank Missy Small, Kaylyn Bessey and Lindsay Slater on my personal staff for their great work.
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I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. MORAN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, this is a sad day, a sad day for the environment and for America's great natural and cultural heritage. H.R. 2584, with its deep cuts in important environmental and natural resource programs and shocking array of special interest riders and funding limitations, falls far short of meeting our responsibilities to protect and wisely use our Nation's natural resources.
The bill before the House today is more than $2 billion below the current spending level, and it's almost $4 billion below the President's request. It's even $324 million below the CR level of H.R. 1 that was passed by the House just in February.
Given the subcommittee's punishingly low 302(b) allocation, I do recognize the difficulties that Chairman Simpson of the subcommittee and Chairman Rogers of the full committee faced in crafting the bill. I do appreciate their efforts, Mr. Simpson's efforts particularly and Mr. Cole's, to protect funding for American Indian programs. I only wish that that protection could have extended to other important portions of this bill.
But as bad as the funding cuts are in this bill, what is most important is the extent to which the majority has filled this bill with extremist legislative riders and funding limitations. The bill is short on needed funds and long on antienvironmental riders.
H.R. 2584 is not so much a spending bill as the fulfillment of a wish list for special interests. Oil companies, cattle grazers, industrial agribusiness, miners, and those who wish to pollute our air and water for greater profit all have their special provisions tucked away into this bill. It is a dump truck of provisions for special interests.
In addition, this bill picks up where H.R. 1 left off and includes dozens of deep cuts in conservation and environmental protection programs, while the extractive or consumptive uses of our public lands are shielded from cuts and given a pass from complying with our Nation's landmark environmental laws. We continually hear from the majority that the pain of budget cuts has to be shared by all, but in this bill they have chosen winners and losers--the extractors and the exploiters and the despoilers
of the forests are the winners and the animals and the people who depend upon clean air and water are the losers. The animals, the environment, the forests, the waterways, and humans who depend on clean air and water all lose.
This bill continues the majority's assault on the Environmental Protection Agency with deep cuts. After the EPA budget was cut by 16 percent in the current fiscal year, the majority is now proposing a further reduction of 18 percent for next year. In other words, a 34 percent cut in environmental protection. Cuts of nearly 40 percent are made to the clean water and safe drinking water grant programs, just at the time when the States and localities have run out of money to try to provide for clean
water and to deal with storm water overflow and all of the plumbing infrastructure that is necessary throughout our country. When the majority says it wants to rein in the EPA, what they're really reining in is the ability to protect clean air and clean water. It also cuts more than 600 positions in EPA's regulatory workforce.
I am extremely disappointed at the majority's decision to prohibit funds for the Endangered Species Act listings and critical habitat designations. These are the vital first steps needed to begin the recovery process for 260 species currently at risk of extinction. Under the guise of sending a signal to the authorizing committee, this bill attacks the very heart of the Endangered Species Act. There are a great many unauthorized programs in this bill.
Wildlife programs overall are hard hit by this bill. State and tribal wildlife grants are cut by two-thirds, multinational species conservation by a fifth, and cooperative endangered species conservation by 95 percent. Even funding for the National Wildlife Refuge System will be cut by 7 1/2 percent.
Our national parks and forests, wildlife refuges, wilderness areas, and other conservation units deserve better than what this bill provides. As stewards of these magnificent resources that were passed down to us, we have a responsibility to defend and preserve them for future generations. Spending reductions like the 78 percent cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a nearly 80 percent cut to the Land and Water Conservation Fund to the lowest level it has ever been, and a 33 percent cut
to the National Landscape Conservation System will place at risk some of our most precious resources.
I would also like to note that this bill is about more than our natural resources and the environment, and while the cultural activities and institutions are a small portion of the bill, they are a vital part of our communities and they do enhance our economy and our way of life. Yet these programs and activities would receive substantial cuts under this bill as well.
I am also struck by the contradictions contained in H.R. 2584. Here are just two examples:
On the one hand, the bill allocates millions of dollars to restore the Everglades in Florida, yet the majority includes a funding limitation that will permit the pollution of the Everglades. The bill also includes funding to deal with the continuing fallout from uranium mining on the Navajo Indian Reservation, yet it includes language that will expose Grand Canyon National Park and the millions of Americans who depend upon the Colorado River for their drinking water to the well-known dangers
of uranium mining, and they give away the publicly owned uranium to a foreign-owned Asian mining company. Imagine, giving away publicly owned uranium to a foreign firm.
The list of legislative riders and funding limitations in the bill is long: National Environmental Policy Act waivers, limitations on judicial review, and the blocking of air and water pollution controls. Whole legislative texts have been dumped into this bill. These riders and limitations have nothing to do with deficit reduction and everything to do with carrying out an extreme ideological agenda.
Repealing environmental regulations doesn't save money; it costs money. Keeping toxins out of our air and water is a great deal cheaper than cleaning up the damage or dealing with the adverse health effects. Preventing the Deepwater Horizon disaster would have been far cheaper than having to clean it up after the fact.
Each rider or funding limitation seems designed to benefit one industry or another. These provisions have become the new earmarks, with 39 such provisions already in the bill, and more are going to be proposed to be added.
While this bill rewards businesses and industries that seek to delay or undermine environmental protections, it penalizes others who try to do the right thing. As just one example, American Electric Power recently announced it's going to stop work on a low-carbon, coal-fired power plant, carbon sequestration, showing it can work, but they're going to stop work on it in light of the pullback in regulating emissions related to climate change. They see what the Congress is doing, they see what their
competitors are doing, so they've decided not to do the right thing because we're making it too expensive to do the right thing.
With the funding cuts and special interest provisions, it's no wonder that the Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 2584 runs five pages with its veto threat. I concur with the administration's views on the bill and under general leave will submit the administration's statement.
We owe it to our constituents and our communities to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, to protect public health from the dangers of mercury and arsenic and lead. Imagine, we have more than 500 coal-fired power plants in this country and they emit more than 78,000 pounds of mercury, and yet one drop of mercury will poison an entire lake.
That's what we should be looking to, and not tying EPA's hands. We ought to be good stewards of the abundant natural and cultural heritage passed down to us. President Johnson noted in 1964, and I'm going to quote, ``If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We should be leaving them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.'' [Page:
Mr. Chairman, H.R. 2584 falls far short of our responsibility to present and future generations. And so I obviously oppose the bill.
Statement of Administration Policy
H.R. 2584--DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012(Rep. Rogers, R-KY)
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2584, making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012. The Administration is committed to ensuring the Nation lives within its means and reducing the deficit so that the Nation can compete in the global economy and win the future. That is why the President put forth a comprehensive fiscal framework that reduces the deficit by $4 trillion, supports
economic growth and long-term job creation, protects critical investments, meets the commitments made to provide dignity and security to Americans no matter their circumstances, and provides for our national security.
The Administration strongly opposes a number of provisions in this bill, including ideological and political provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation. If the President is presented with a bill that undermines ongoing conservation, public health, and environmental protection efforts through funding limits or restrictions, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.
While overall funding limits and subsequent allocations remain unclear pending the outcome of ongoing bipartisan, bicameral discussions between the Administration and congressional leadership on the Nation's long-term fiscal picture, the Administration has concerns regarding the level of resources the bill would provide for a number of programs in a way that undermines core government functions, investments key to economic growth and job creation, as well as protection of public health and the
environment and preservation of our Nation's natural resource heritage, including, but not limited to:
Department of the Interior (DOI)
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Conservation Grants. The level of funding provided to the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and State and Tribal Wildlife grants, as well as the termination of Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act grants, would threaten the ability of States and private organizations to conserve and provide access to habitat, undermining the conservation of game and non-game species.
Safety Inspection Fees. The bill does not include user fees to cover inspections of oil and gas production facilities offshore and onshore. Without these fees, taxpayers, rather than industry, would have to shoulder the cost of these operations, which are critical to ensuring safe and responsible energy development.
FWS Operations. The funding provided for operations would seriously degrade the ability of FWS to maintain the network of National Wildlife Refuges and fulfill other statutory responsibilities. This would result in delays in environmental compliance reviews, which could impede major infrastructure projects, including road construction, water delivery, and other federally funded projects that directly benefit State and local governments.
Landsat. The bill does not provide funding to begin the acquisition of the next Landsat satellite, ending a 40-year stream of data that is used by Federal, State, local and Tribal governments and the private sector to make informed land and resource management decisions and to assess the impacts of those decisions over time.
DOI and Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The funding in the bill for LWCF programs would deny willing sellers the opportunity to sell land holdings, and severely impair the ability of Federal, State, and local officials, as well as private landowners, to preserve and manage areas important to wildlife, recreationalists, and sportsmen and women.
Wildland Fire Suppression. The bill's funding for suppression is substantially below the 10-year average, which is the accepted method for calculating suppression requirements. While the bill directs DOI and the Forest Service to use emergency fire suppression balances to make up the shortfall, this strategy carries high risk given the high fire activity to date and the cancellation of balances in FY 2011 appropriations.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA Operating Budget. At the funding level provided, EPA will be unable to implement its core mission of protecting human health and the environment. Research necessary to support this mission will be curtailed, and restoration of key ecosystems such as the Great Lakes and the Chesapeake Bay will be delayed.
State Revolving Funds (SRFs). The level of funding provided in the bill would result in approximately 400 fewer wastewater and drinking water projects, and impede EPA's ability to reach the long-term goal of providing approximately 5 percent of total water infrastructure funding annually.
State Categorical Grants. The funding provided in the bill for grants to States would impede States' ability to carry out critical public health and environmental activities such as air quality monitoring and water quality permitting. This would greatly reduce core high-priority State environmental programs at a time of declining State budgets.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Programs. The reductions in funding for GHG programs and regulations severely limit actions the Administration could take under current law to permit, control, and monitor greenhouse gases and would block EPA's efforts to reduce GHG emissions from vehicles and large stationary sources.
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). The level of resources for the GLRI would reduce the ability of Federal agencies and their partners to clean up contaminated sediments, fight invasive species, restore habitat, and improve water quality in this critical ecosystem.
High Priority Ecosystems Funding. The level of funding provided for the Chesapeake Bay would jeopardize the successful clean-up of the Nation's largest estuary.
Responsible Energy Development and Oil Spill Response. The level of resources in the bill would eliminate efforts to increase the frequency of environmental compliance inspections at oil facilities. In addition, the bill does not include emergency transfer authority necessary to improve the Government's ability to prevent and respond to oil spills.
Smart Growth. The bill terminates funding for EPA's Smart Growth program, which contributes to efforts to assist communities in coordinating infrastructure investments and minimizing environmental impact of development.
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The funding in the bill for the NEA, which is the largest national funder of the arts in the United States, would cut support for arts organizations across the country during a time when private and State arts funding is also highly constrained.
Council on Environmental Quality.
The Administration's ability to guide the Executive Branch's environmental policies and programs will be substantially reduced at the funding level in the bill.
The Administration strongly opposes problematic policy and language issues that are beyond the scope of funding legislation, including, but not limited to, the following provisions in this bill:
Restrictions on Implementing the Endangered Species Act. Preventing FWS from implementing key provisions of the Endangered Species Act will only result in increased costs and delays in the future.
Mountain Top Mining Reform. Preventing the Office of Surface Mining from developing or implementing the stream buffer zone rule could increase the risk of litigation and potentially delay sustainable coal mining.
Mineral Withdrawal Prohibition. Prohibiting DOI from restricting new mining claims on approximately 1 million acres of Federal lands near the Grand Canyon will reverse a temporary moratorium on new uranium and other mining claims. The Secretary of the Interior is currently assessing the impact to water quality in Grand Canyon National Park to ensure that any future uranium or other mining activity in the area does not lead to the human health and environmental impacts seen from previous mining-caused
contamination of ground water and drinking water supplies.
Gray Wolves. The Endangered Species Act expressly gives the public the right to challenge listing decisions. Restricting judicial review of any published final rule to delist gray wolves in Wyoming or the Great Lakes region from the Endangered Species Act would deny the public an opportunity to make sure that a future listing decision on gray wolves is based on science.
Protecting Wilderness Characteristics Secretarial Order. Prohibiting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from implementing Secretarial Order 3310, which directs BLM to use the public resource management planning process to designate certain lands with wilderness characteristics as ``Wild Lands'' is unnecessary given the Department's policy that includes collaboration with stakeholders to identify public lands that may be appropriate candidates for congressional designation under the Wilderness
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Stationary Sources. Preventing EPA from regulating GHG emissions from stationary sources would prevent the Agency from proposing or finalizing new regulations to control GHG emissions from power plants and petroleum refineries, increasing the risk of long-term environmental consequences from GHG emissions. EPA is under two settlement agreements to complete these rules in 2012.
Clean Air Act Permitting. Section 431(a)(2-4) of the bill effectively overrides Federal and State- issued permits for emissions from industrial facilities that are very large emitters of greenhouse gases by stating that the Clean Air Act's requirement to obtain a permit has no legal effect and that no lawsuits may be brought against a facility due to uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions.
Light-Duty Greenhouse Gas Standards. Section 453 of the bill undermines Executive Branch efforts to set standards that will save consumers money at the pump and reduce GHG emissions through increased vehicle fuel efficiency on Model Year 2017-2025 Light-Duty Vehicles.
Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)/Transport Rule. Section [Page: H5437]
462 of the bill blocks EPA from implementing its utility MACT rule to control air toxics emissions, as well as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule controlling interstate transport of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter emissions from power plants. This provision interferes with the long-delayed implementation of major air pollution rules covering pollution from power plants.
Mountaintop Mining Coordination and Guidance. Section 433 of the bill prohibits implementing or enforcing an EPA/Army Corps of Engineers (Corps)/Office of Surface Mining coordination Memorandum of Understanding and EPA guidance on the Clean Water Act/National Environmental Policy Act and mountaintop mining. This issue is currently undergoing judicial review and should be allowed to conclude without congressional intervention.
Clean Water Act. Section 435 of the bill would stop an important Administration effort to provide clarity around which water bodies are covered by the Clean Water Act. The Administration's work in this area will help to protect the public health and economic benefits provided to the American public by clean water, while also bringing greater certainty to business planning and investment and reducing an ongoing loss of wetlands and other sensitive aquatic resources. The existing regulations were
the subject of two recent Supreme Court cases, in which the Court itself indicated the need for greater regulatory clarity regarding the appropriate scope of the Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
Outer Continental Shelf Drilling. Section 443 of the bill limits EPA's Clean Air Act permitting authority for Outer Continental Shelf drilling and would eliminate the Agency's discretion in considering human health and environmental protections when issuing these permits.
Integrated Risk Information System. Section 444 of the bill withholds funding for EPA to take administrative action following its assessment of risk for certain chemicals. This provision would delay scientific assessment of environmental contaminants and could delay regulatory or other Agency actions designed to protect public health.
Limiting Compliance of the Endangered Species Act. Section 447 of the bill would prevent EPA from implementing a biological opinion related to pesticides if the opinion identifies modifying, canceling, or suspending registration of a pesticide registered under FIFRA. This could undermine efforts to protect species from being put into jeopardy from a Federal project and could stop development and delay issuance of permits.
Lead Renovation and Repair Rule. Section 450 of the bill prohibits funding for EPA to implement the 2008 Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, as amended, until after industry develops and EPA approves different lead paint test kits. This would undermine efforts to protect sensitive populations from exposure to lead, a known toxin to children and developing fetuses, during home renovation projects. The currently available test kits allow renovators to comply with the 2008 rule.
Reducing Emissions from Cement Facilities. The language would prevent common sense deployment of technology that has been around for decades that will improve public health by reducing emissions of pollutants, including known carcinogens such as dioxin, from cement facilities.
Fighting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. Sections 449 and 451 of the bill fall short of their intended purposes of protecting the interest of the Nation's taxpayers. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to achieve the common goal of fighting fraud, waste, and abuse in Federal contracts, grants, and other Federal assistance.
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process moves forward to ensure the Administration can support enactment of the legislation.
I reserve the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR (Mr. Poe of Texas). The Committee will rise informally.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hastings of Washington) assumed the chair.
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. I rise today to commend this bill to our colleagues and urge that it be passed. It includes $27.5 billion in Federal spending. That's a reduction of $2.1 billion below last year, $3.8 billion below the President's request.
Some have complained that these cuts are too much, too fast. But it's important to remember that these agencies and programs have seen unprecedented massive increases in spending in recent years. This sort of excess has contributed to our astronomical debt and is threatening our recovery. We simply can't fund unnecessary and ineffective programs when we are borrowing 42 cents on every dollar we spend. We just simply can't afford it.
This legislation makes smart, significant cuts across each and every agency funded by this bill. The bill still adequately funds the agencies that are important to the health of our citizens, the stability of our economy, and the preservation of our environment, but we've made some priority adjustments in areas that can and should withstand lower budgets.
Some areas that will see bigger reductions include climate change programs, which are trimmed 22 percent from last year, and land acquisition funding, which is at a level nearly 79 percent lower than last year.
Frankly, many of the cuts in this bill are just plain common sense, particularly when it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency. The reductions and provisions in this bill were made with very good reason--to rein in unparalleled, out-of-control spending and job-killing overregulation by the EPA.
Though we all appreciate the core mission of the EPA, this agency has lost grips with economic reality and has become the epitome of the continued and damaging regulatory overreach of this administration. We can't allow an agency to circumvent the authority of Congress, especially when it has such destructive effects on our Nation's economic recovery.
I'd like to say that we've heard from Americans all across the country and across every sector of the economy who attribute harsh regulatory burdens to their economic uncertainty, uncertainty that's crushing job growth.
It's my hope that this legislation sends the message loud and clear: Legislation by regulation must stop. We've restricted funding for EPA personnel, as well as addressed EPA's flawed greenhouse gas regulations and de facto moratorium on mining permits in Appalachia. It's my hope that provisions like these will return the EPA to a better working order, facilitating a more effective government, sending money where it really needs to go, and removing burdensome barriers to job creation to clear
the way for economic recovery.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Chairman Simpson and Ranking Member Moran, the subcommittee, and all of the staff for all their hard work on this very tough bill. Chairman Simpson has led the way on an excellent bill, I think, that makes good on our promise to reduce government spending with real significant spending reforms.
His subcommittee, Mr. Chairman, held 22 oversight hearings, more than any other of the 12 subcommittees on Appropriations. I'm confident that they've gone above and beyond their duty to ensure that these cuts come from wasteful and redundant programs. I know these decisions were not made lightly, were not made easy, but they are responsible, and will help us move in the right direction.
Although it's been difficult at times, the House should be proud to be moving this year's appropriations process in regular order, the first time in years. With this bill we will have finished more than half of the fiscal 12 appropriation bills before the recess. And nearly all of the bills have been moved through subcommittee or full committee, and therefore are on cue to come to the full body. This return to regular order has contributed to thoughtful, collaborative appropriations bills that
reflect the will of the American people and will help get our Nation's finances in order.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
Mr. MORAN (during the reading). I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read.
The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Virginia?
There was no objection.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. DICKS. I rise to state my opposition to H.R. 2584, the FY 2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill. [Page: H5438]
But before I state the reasons for my strong opposition, I want to, again recognize Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Moran and their staffs for all the hard work that was necessary to put together the FY 2012 Interior and Environment appropriations bill. I also want to repeat my gratitude to the majority for being inclusive when developing this bill.
That being said, however, the low allocation foisted on the Interior Subcommittee made it impossible to develop a bill that is responsible and reasonable, so it is no surprise that the resulting bill will harm the environment and our ongoing efforts to preserve America's natural heritage. Two key examples of this potential damage are that the bill includes the lowest level of spending in the Land and Water Conservation Fund in more than 40 years, and funding levels for EPA not seen in more than
Overall, the allocation for the bill is 7 percent below the amount enacted in the current year, a level that will have a negative impact on our natural resource agencies and on the Environmental Protection Agency. After the EPA took a substantial cut of 16 percent in the current fiscal year, 2011, the Republican majority is now proposing a further reduction in the agency's budget of 18 percent. You add that together, it's a 34-percent reduction in just this year.
This bill would substantially diminish the capacity of EPA to carry out its responsibilities, which may actually be the goal of some of my colleagues on the other side. But the repercussions will be felt across the Nation, including an ever-growing backlog of water treatment infrastructure projects and a decline in air and water quality.
As was pointed out in a recent Washington Post article, the vast majority of the EPA's funds pass through to States and localities that are already squeezed by budget cuts.
These infrastructure projects create jobs in communities all across the country and provide one of the most basic services taxpayers expect--clean water. The Bush administration's EPA administrator estimated that there was a $688 billion nationwide backlog of clean water infrastructure projects, and that total is even larger today. That backlog will not disappear if we just ignore it, but as we have seen in so many cases this year, the majority has decided to push this problem further down the
In addition to the clearly insufficient levels of funding across the board in this legislation, we were surprised that the majority also included a wish list of special interest riders to the bill that will handcuff the EPA and the Department of the Interior. These types of riders are largely ideological, have no impact on deficit reduction, and will be rejected by the Senate and the President, hopefully.
It seems that special interest riders have become the new earmarks--and I support earmarks. This bill was made even worse when the majority adopted more special interest riders with amendments that were approved at full committee, and I fear that there will be more policy amendments offered on the floor as we consider this bill.
One of the riders is language that would effectively block any funding to the Fish and Wildlife Service for new listings under the Endangered Species Act. As Mr. Moran said, there are 260 candidate species waiting to be listed, and they will not receive the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. DICKS. Here is the situation that the Fish and Wildlife Service faces in the administration of the ESA. Speaking of that 260, of that total, there are just under 30 species that are poised for listing in the near future. The spending provisions in this bill would block further activity to protect these declining species. And remember, if you delay listing too long, a species will go extinct, thus making recovery impossible.
I also will be strongly supporting the amendments that aim to remove these riders. These amendments include an attempt to protect Grand Canyon National Park and the folks who depend on the Colorado River for drinking water from the potential danger from new uranium mines. Another amendment that I strongly support will increase funding for sanitation facilities for Native American communities.
In closing, I do want to reiterate my praise expressed at subcommittee mark for Chairman Simpson, Mr. Moran, Mr. Cole and other subcommittee members for the funding levels for programs serving American Indians. It is gratifying that this subcommittee's bipartisan commitment to tribal programs forged over the last few years has been continued by the new majority.
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I thank the chairman for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, 2 months ago, the Secretary of the Interior announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act list in areas covering the northern Rocky Mountain States and roughly the easternmost one-third of the State of Washington, the eastern quarter of the State of Oregon, and a small piece of Utah. I understand that H.R. 2584 also would exempt from judicial review any final rule issued by the Secretary that delists wolves
in the State of Wyoming and the western Great Lakes. So I commend the chairman for your leadership to see that these States are given a chance to succeed in their management of species.
As with other decisions, the Secretary of the Interior's May announcement does not resolve the problem for many agricultural areas in States that don't fit neatly within the Fish and Wildlife Service's arbitrarily set geographical boundaries, and it reverses a policy that the Fish and Wildlife Service itself implemented by regulation in 2003 in which wolves were delisted in all of the State of Washington and other areas with appropriate State recovery measures in place.
Under the current administration's policy, in my own district in central Washington, wolves will be delisted on the eastern side up to a highway that cuts through a heavy agriculture area. Wolves on one side of the highway will be listed, the other side not. The same is true in Oregon and Utah.
I appreciate the steps the gentleman has included in this bill to create a more rational approach toward delisting these recovered wolves by allowing the States to manage the populations using sound wildlife management principles. I want to confirm my understanding that the bill and accompanying report language on page 10 is intended to include all States in their entirety within the northern Rocky Mountain area, including Washington, Oregon, and Utah.
Mr. SIMPSON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Yes. Our intent is to make it clear that States with approved management plans should be given authority to manage delisted wolf populations in their States. The language in the bill ensures that delisting decisions are made by scientists on the ground, not judges in courtrooms.
The report language clarifies that similar bill language should apply to areas where wolves have expanded beyond their original population boundaries once State management plans are in place and the Fish and Wildlife Service determines that the population should be delisted. That language is intended to address States that currently face mixed management challenges, like Washington, Oregon, and Utah.
I know your concern about this issue, and Representative Walden from Oregon has shared with me similar concerns as well.
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Reclaiming my time, I thank the gentleman for that clarification.
As we both know, the problem goes far beyond wolves. The ESA has nearly 1,400 listed species in the U.S. and hundreds of millions of dollars being spent by local, State, Federal, and private entities on ESA activities; yet Federal agencies are being regularly sued for poor science and poorly drafted regulations, and only 20 species have been recovered. [Page: H5439]
Do you agree with me that the Endangered Species Act is broken and needs to be modernized and updated?
I yield to the chairman.
Mr. SIMPSON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Yes, today's ESA is so highly contentious, political, and litigious that it has become a failure of public policy. Funding authorization for ESA programs expired nearly two decades ago, but because we have continued to fund them, ESA reform continues to stay on the back burner.
This bill calls for a ``timeout'' for unauthorized funding of new critical habitat or ESA listing decisions in order to encourage authorizers and stakeholders to come to the table to bring the ESA into the 21st century, which it is not now.
Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Reclaiming my time, a couple of weeks ago Secretary Salazar acknowledged, ``There are changes and improvements that can be made to how we deal with endangered species'' and that ``we need to have an endangered species program that does, in fact, work.'' I couldn't agree more with the Secretary's statement.
The Natural Resources Committee that I chair has jurisdiction over ESA, as well as NOAA and the Fish and Wildlife Service, and we will be working in coming months to conduct robust oversight and look at much needed proposals to update this law. I appreciate your leadership and look forward to working with you on this very important issue.
I yield to the chairman.
Mr. SIMPSON. I thank the gentleman.
It is important that authorizing committees like yours be able to modernize landmark laws like the ESA--laws that were widely supported when they were passed but no longer work as Congress originally intended. No less than 56 agencies or programs in this bill have expired authorizations, and stakeholders and interested Members of Congress should know that these programs are also at risk of defunding if they are not reauthorized. Our bill, hopefully, will provide incentive for stakeholders who
have been unwilling to participate in the reform process to finally entertain serious reform of the ESA, which I am sure your committee will actively pursue.
Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, the minority would respectfully request of the majority that such colloquies, including the one that just transpired, as well as future ones, be shared with the minority. They are meant to be a clarification of language and funding in the bill. And they may very well prompt actions on our part to strike language if we don't fully understand what the intent was, and that may very well apply to the delisting of wolves. So we would appreciate, when the majority engages in
colloquies, sharing that language with the minority.
Would the gentleman like to respond? I yield to the gentleman from Idaho.
Mr. MORAN. Good. So we would like a copy of the colloquy that just transpired.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Serrano), the ranking member of the Financial Services Appropriations Committee.
Mr. SERRANO. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to express my opposition to H.R. 2584, the Interior Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012. First, however, I would like to acknowledge both Chairman Simpson and Congressman Moran, who have worked in a bipartisan and collaborative way throughout the lengthy hearing and markup process. It has been a pleasure for me to serve as a member of this subcommittee.
Unfortunately, this subcommittee's insufficient spending allocation has resulted in deep cuts in funding for important agencies and programs. In addition, numerous anti-environmental riders have been attached to this legislation.
Although there are many to choose from, I would like to mention a few of these cutbacks and what their impact will be on specific agencies and programs. For example, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which is crucial in helping to fund land acquisition and in protecting threatened and endangered species, was funded at $66 million, which is $834 million below the budget request.
State and Tribal Wildlife Grants, which play an important role in making sure that we have strategic and effective wildlife conservation programs, were funded at $22 million, or $73 million below the request.
The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, is funded at $7.1 billion, which is $1.8 billion below the request. At this funding level, the EPA will be prevented from accomplishing many of its missions to protect our environment.
There are so many destructive riders attached to this legislation that it is difficult to figure out which ones to highlight during my brief remarks. One that specifically harms my State of New York was added during full committee markup. This rider prevents the Great Lakes States from receiving any EPA funding if they have implemented ballast water rules that have stronger timelines or standards than the Federal or international requirements that are currently in effect. Because New York has
been at the forefront of efforts to require ships to treat their ballast water before discharging it into New York's waterways, our State will be immediately affected. States should have the right to protect their own waters from dangerous aquatic invasive species.
Another particularly harmful rider would stop the EPA from limiting greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources for a 1-year period. Overall, 69 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from stationary sources, such as our electric utilities and petroleum refineries. This rider, which prevents the EPA from acting, will have far reaching and devastating consequences on our Nation's air quality. In particular, my Bronx congressional district, which has one of the highest
asthma rates in the Nation, will continue to suffer from poor air quality.
Because of the sharp reductions included in this bill to the programs and agencies that protect our environment, enrich our lives through the arts, and increase recreational opportunities; and because of the riders that harm our wildlife, our land, our water, and our air quality, I will be voting against this bill.
Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Fiscal Year 2012 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. I would like to thank Chairman Simpson and Ranking Member Moran for being excellent leaders on the subcommittee. It has been a pleasure to work with both of them. I especially commend the 22 oversight hearings that our subcommittee held this year. The subcommittee works hard, and we have done our due diligence in putting this bill together.
The FY 2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill recognizes the current economic environment and the past 4 years of out-of-control spending. It is $2.1 billion below last year's level, and $3.8 billion below the President's 2012 request. It is a focused and lean bill which supports funding for duties which are clearly the responsibility of the Federal Government and makes tough decisions about how we allocate taxpayers' dollars.
The bill fully funds Federal firefighters and Forest Service Wildland Fire Management. It ensures our national parks, which belong to the American people, remain fully operational in 2012. And it includes $30 million for diesel emissions reduction grants to retrofit old diesel engines with cleaner burning ones, a program that has been successfully implemented across the United States and is contributing to cleaner air.
The bill also reduces the EPA inflated budget back down to the 2006 level and cuts $46 million in requested funding for burdensome regulation of greenhouse gases, which means control of carbon dioxide, a regulation unilaterally adopted by the administration [Page: H5440]
that is making the U.S. less competitive in the world and sending American jobs overseas.
Finally, yes, Mr. Chairman, there are many spending reductions in this bill, including programs I support. However, we have to start somewhere to bring economic sanity back to the budgeting process, and this is one of the first of many steps to come.
In conclusion, I am pleased to support this bill. I urge my colleagues to support the bill.
Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Chairman, as a member of the Interior Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, I have great respect for Chairman Simpson, Ranking Member Moran, and the staffers on both sides of the aisle.
One important aspect of this bill is Chairman Simpson and Representative Cole have worked together with Democrats to protect critical education and health care investments in Indian Country as part of our trust relationship with the 565 tribes in this country. Native American children, families and elders will all benefit as a result of our efforts.
However, on virtually every other aspect of this bill, particularly on the environment, this appropriations bill is a radical attempt to take America backwards from 40 years of bipartisan progress in protecting human health and our environment.
There are nearly 40 special interest policy riders in this bill. It is outrageous that these riders protect corporate polluters while attacking clean water, clean air, our public lands, and wildlife conservation. Representatives Waxman, Markey and Rush, as ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Natural Resources Committee have sent letters expressing their grave concern about these extreme, destructive policy riders that have no business being on an appropriations
This abuse of the legislative process to further Republicans' radical agenda on behalf of polluters and special interests should not be tolerated. These policy riders put the public health of Americans at risk and will imperil America's natural heritage for future generations. In particular, Republicans have chosen to mount an unprecedented assault on the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency created by President Richard Nixon.
Clearly, Republicans have now come full circle and this bill makes House Republicans the most polluter-friendly Congress in nearly two generations. In addition to gutting EPA's budget, Republicans have added 10 policy riders that will make the air we breathe dirtier and eight policy riders that will make the water we drink more polluted and toxic. The Republican riders halt the EPA's work under the Clean Air Act to protect the public health from impacts of carbon dioxide pollution, mercury emissions,
sulfur dioxide, soot and smog. This will jeopardize the health of millions of children suffering from asthma and put more Americans at risk for strokes, heart disease, and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
In 2010, the EPA found the Clean Air Act saved 160,000 lives nationwide. That's equivalent to the entire population of Tempe, Arizona. By 2020, that number is expected to grow to 230,000 lives saved, leading to $2 trillion in economic benefits.
Republican riders also stop EPA's work under the Clean Water Act to clean our rivers, streams, lakes, and to protect our drinking water from the impacts of coal mining, storm water discharge, and toxic nutrient pollution and pesticides.
Essentially, House Republicans are telling the American people that protecting public health and the environment from corporate polluters is no longer important. And despite the Tea Party Republicans' supposed ban on earmarks, this bill is loaded with earmarks for a few privileged polluters and special interests.
Here are just four out of a dozen Republican earmarks contained in this bill:
An earmark for foreign companies to allow for uranium mining adjacent to the Grand Canyon, one of America's most treasured places;
An earmark for Shell Oil to ignore environmental regulations to drill offshore in the Arctic Ocean;
An earmark for a few sheep farmers subsidized by U.S. taxpayers on U.S. land so they can evade environmental laws that protect bighorn sheep;
A special earmark for the State of Texas to continue its illegal air permitting program in violation of the Clean Air Act.
These dirty, toxic, and dangerous earmarks to a few special interests come at the expense of cleaner water, healthier air, our cherished national parks, and endangered wildlife. Minnesotans are deeply troubled by this reckless bill that endangers the health of our communities while destroying our natural resources that are our children's inheritance. This is one of the most extreme pieces of anti-environmental legislation to ever come to the floor of the House. As far as the American people are
concerned, H.R. 2584 should be declared a toxic Superfund site that is so dangerous to human health and the environment that it needs to be remediated rather than passed into law.
I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill and its abandonment of 40 years of progress we have made in protecting the American people's health and the American national heritage.
Mr. COLE. I thank the Chairman for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this legislation, and I want to praise the process by which we arrived at this. This is probably the hardest-working subcommittee on a very hardworking Appropriations Committee; 22 separate hearings, a very open process. I think even the minority that disagreed with some of the decisions that were made would agree that they were made fairly, openly, transparently, and by votes. And the American people can look at what we did.
Usually, when you come to this floor, you come to debate and to disagree. We're certainly going to have a great deal of that over the course of the next several days as we work through the main legislation and the many amendments which undoubtedly will be offered. But I want to focus today on an area of bipartisan agreement, and that's the decisions that were made regarding funding in Indian Country and Native American programs.
Mr. Chairman, our chairman generously mentioned, and appropriately mentioned, the hard work that Mr. Moran and Mr. Dicks did in setting the foundation for the progress that's being built upon this year. What he was too modest about was his own role, first as a ranking member and then as the chairman, and also seeing that an appropriate focus was placed on Indian Country. Frankly, while I disagree with the administration in many places, I want to thank them as well because in
many cases, they had great suggestions, they certainly put forward serious proposals, and they've been very easy to work with in Native American issues. So there's a lot of praise here to go around.
Most importantly, I think from an appropriations standpoint, the numbers speak for themselves. The Bureau of Indian Affairs funding was cut, but actually cut less than the President requested. The Indian Health Service got a 9 percent increase--almost $400 million. You can run through the program. IHS staffing for new facilities, $63 million. Fully funded at the President's request. Road maintenance, $25 million. Funded at the President's request. Indian guaranteed loan program, something to
help tribes as they move into private industries, actually funded above the President's request. Contract support costs, fully funded, $228 million. Indian Health Service, fully funded, $574 million.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. COLE. I thank the gentleman.
Contract support, again, fully funded or funded at very near what the President requested. Most importantly, language put in to make sure that those contracts are actually fully funded by the BIA, something that has not always happened in the past. Again, important language on joint ventures [Page: H5441]
whereby we encourage tribes to take some of their revenue, work with the Federal Government, reinvest in health care facilities, other needed infrastructure improvements
in Indian Country.
I say all this just to point out that while we have serious disagreements and serious debates, and while we made very hard decisions, overall funding is, as Chairman Simpson suggested, down 7 percent from last year and certainly well below the request that the President made. In this area, defending one of the most challenged populations in the country, Republicans and Democrats alike can be exceptionally proud of what was done and the priorities when we put, again, the most challenged
people that we deal with on that committee in the most favored position. That hasn't always happened. I want to thank my friend Chairman Simpson for making sure it happened and my friends Mr. Moran and Mr. Dicks for doing the same.
Mr. BISHOP of New York. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, I strongly oppose the FY 2012 Interior appropriations bill in its current form. Not only am I deeply troubled by the bill's lack of infrastructure investment that would create jobs, grow the economy, and protect public health, but it is unfortunate that the Appropriations Committee has included several dozen egregious special interest policy earmarks in the bill that will undermine our Nation's commitment to clean water, clean air, and the environment, which are fundamental to local
economies like the one I represent.
We've heard from our friends on the Appropriations Committee that we must make difficult decisions in these trying economic times. I couldn't agree more. Furthermore, we've heard from the chairman of the subcommittee that he believes that many of the programs that are cut are good programs, but that we must be willing to make cuts to reduce our growing debt.
Consider this: The bill cuts $2.1 billion from 2011 levels for the Department of the Interior, EPA, and other agencies. However, if we were to eliminate the Bush tax cuts only for those households earning more than a million dollars per year, we could save the revenues necessary to preserve these critical agencies in less than 18 days. The bill provides $1.4 billion less for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, a fund that is critical to both environmental protection and economic development.
If we were to eliminate the Bush tax cuts, we could reestablish our commitment to clean water within 12 days, affecting only those tax cuts from people who make a million dollars a year or more. That's a reasonable price to pay for the economic development that would result.
Over the past several months we have heard repeatedly that we must do all that we can to prevent taxing our Nation's job creators, a sentiment with which I agree in principle. However, in my district and districts all across this country, it is the environment that is the job creator. The economy of my district depends on clean water, clean air, and safe, swimmable beaches. The cuts in this bill place all of these in jeopardy. If the Republican priorities in this bill prevail, we could put an
effective tax rate of zero on the small businesses in my district and it wouldn't help at all because they would have no income--and no income means no jobs.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to express my deep appreciation to the chairman of the subcommittee as well as the ranking member, especially for the number of public hearings they had reviewing all of the programs of this subcommittee, taking us back to regular order in almost unprecedented form, making sure the public had a chance to talk to us about their view as to how these programs were working.
As we meet today, the country is faced with a crisis regarding our debt. Should we raise the national debt ceiling or not? That debate is swirling around whether we should reduce spending or we should increase taxes to fund additional spending desired by the administration and the former majority. It's very, very important to know that we are at a crisis point in terms of spending. With that backdrop, we can hear the same debate taking place in this very committee discussion. People complaining
about not enough money for EPA, for example.
The fact is that most of these programs are over-funded relative to just a few years ago, and the debate and the concern is an expression about a desire for more spending or a lack of increased funding above and beyond the wish list of many around here. The fundamental issue ought to be discussed in terms of how programs have worked and not worked.
I've heard many complaints about air quality questions today by the other side. It was, Mr. Chairman, my privilege to write the toughest environmental laws in the country relative to improving air quality. Years ago, as we discussed implementing those policies in my State of California, the center of the discussion was to make sure we focus upon the real problems.
We can solve the problems of stationary sources, we said then, very quickly, very easily--up to 97 percent-plus of their pollution. The real problem lies with the automobile, doing something serious about that. What people do driving their cars is the key to the question.
The EPA has failed us in many, many a way in dealing with these major challenges, and I would suggest that any number of issues that might be raised is illustrated by the one endangered species I'd mentioned. That endangered species is the desert tortoise.
The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. LEWIS of California. We could have solved that problem years ago by planting endless numbers of eggs in the East Mojave. Instead, the EPA decided to ignore and the environmentalists decided to ignore that potential, saying it took too long to plant those and have them grow to adulthood. The fact is, over the last 15 years, had we done that, we would not have that endangered species any longer. Recently, we learned the only healthy population of the desert tortoise was on the National Training
Center Army base where they took care of the animals versus what we did in the environment. Indeed, the EPA deserves some serious review as well as reauthorization.
Mr. MORAN (during the reading). I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read.
The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Virginia?
There was no objection.
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy.
I am uncomfortable coming to the floor and having to speak against this bill. There is nobody in Congress I have more respect and affection for than the subcommittee chairman; but this bill is an example of why the Republican budget gimmick last week was a fool's errand. If ever enacted, the public would be outraged.
These critical programs of EPA are not overfunded. Just talk to anybody in your home community who is dealing with things like the revolving fund for sewer and water.
This bill is not balanced. There are opportunities where there could have been fees and charges from people who profit from the activities of this bill. But no. Instead, we are shifting costs to the public and damage to the environment. We are actually giving more money to some of the special interests that profit from these activities.
We are slashing things that matter to most Americans--the ability of the EPA to protect our families and their environment and land acquisition to protect American treasures. It's going to cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural and small town America where people rely on our open spaces, our public lands, our parks and recreational activities.
It shortchanges America's future.
The jihad against climate change continues from my friends on the Republican side of the aisle, and it's ironic. When people can barely walk outside in Washington, D.C. and when we're dealing with drought, flood, wildfires, the extreme weather events across the country, the scientists tell [Page: H5442]
us that it's related to human activity, and this budget reduces our ability to deal with climate change and extreme weather events.
I agree that the subcommittee has a very difficult job, in part, because of the unrealistic numbers that were given to them; but sadly, if you look at the bill in its entirety, I must take gentle exception to Chairman Rogers saying we all support the core mission of EPA. Sadly, anybody who reads this bill understands that that's not the case and that it's being brought to us in a way that simply undermines that core mission that means so much to Americans, to our environment, and to
The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Idaho has 1 minute remaining, and the gentleman from Virginia has 30 seconds remaining.
Mr. MORAN. Mr. Chairman, the reality is that this is a bad bill. There may be some good people who have been involved in putting it together. I like the distinguished chairman of the subcommittee, but the fact is that this would severely restrict our government's ability to improve the quality of our air and water. It would substantially cut programs that, I think, many of the American people take for granted. Our environment will be despoiled by this bill if it becomes enacted, so I would strongly
urge that this body vote against it.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SIMPSON. In closing, I thank the Members for the debate that has gone on with regard to this bill.
I notice that Members on the other side of the aisle continually refer to some of the policy provisions that are in this bill as policy rider/special interest legislation. In fact, they were called ``earmark legislation'' in this bill, but they are special interest.
Let me tell you that the only special interest that I care about right now are the unemployed people in this country who are looking for a job. If you talk to any business in this country, the one thing they will tell you is the uncertainty created by the potential regulation and proposed regulation by the EPA is stopping them from expanding their businesses because they have no idea--no idea--what it's going to cost to hire a new employee.
They are the biggest wet blanket on our economy that we have today, so we need to do something about it. We need to rein them back in because they are totally out of control. That's what this bill does.
This is under an open rule. That means Members will have the opportunity, if they have different ideas and if they can get a majority of the votes, to remove some of these things. If so, they can remove them, but I'd suspect more are going to be added rather than removed as this bill moves through its full consideration.
Mr. SIMPSON. I yield back the balance of my time.
The Acting CHAIR. All time for general debate has expired.
Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the 5-minute rule.
The amendment printed in section 2 of House Resolution 363 is adopted. During consideration of the bill for further amendment, the Chair may accord priority in recognition to a Member offering an amendment who has caused it to be printed in the designated place in the Congressional Record. Those amendments will be considered read.
The Clerk will read.