|4:52 PM EDT||
Jim Moran Jr., D-VA 8th
Mr. MORAN. I must agree with the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee and object to this amendment. I want to make a number of points. One is that the amendment adds funds for what are called geographic programs. That is a pretty broad category. It includes the Chesapeake Bay, the Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, and other water bodies that need restoration projects. So if the amendment passes, I trust the gentleman understands that the funding will be and should be divided up amongst all
of those programs.
Now, I do support the efforts of the Congress to clean up the Great Lakes and to deal with these invasive species. Clearly, it is a very serious problem. Asian carp is horribly destructive. But I think it is worth pointing out that it was during Democratic leadership in the Congress that the Great Lakes Restoration Project received its largest increases. In fiscal year 2010, the program received $475 million, and this current year they're getting $300 million. With all due respect, it would seem
that the funding level of $250 million, which is in this bill, that cuts far more dramatically many other programs, would be seen as something of a success. I think if anything, Mr. Simpson should be thanked for protecting this program.
I will let Mr. Dicks speak about Puget Sound--but the Chesapeake Bay was funded at $17 million below the request, and it's only getting $50 million. Now, I understand the gentleman's frustration that more could not have been done in this bill for all of the geographic programs.
But the reason why we are in this position of underfunding these admittedly critical water programs is because of two actions. I know the gentleman will remember those two actions because he supported them. One was the so-called Ryan Republican budget resolution that the gentleman voted for; and the second was the 302(b) allocation to the Interior Department. I think that set the stage. It really set parameters that were far too tight to be able to provide the kinds of funds for many programs,
including Great Lakes restoration, that are needed.
Now, another point that needs to be made is that the GAO reported to the committee, and I quote: ``Progress remains slow as the program has delisted only one of the 31 areas of concern.'' EPA officials said that the program set less ambitious goals for fiscal year 2012 because it has had such trouble in meeting past goals. The agency did set lower goals in 2012, and so it does seem to make some sense that reduced funding might be appropriate in view of those lesser goals.
But I also want to point out that the offset is really untenable. It reduces EPA's science account and environmental programs with what I think is the express intent of cutting additional climate change and clean energy programs.
Now, I also want to point out, and I know that the gentleman offering the amendment may not be excited about this, but it does seem a bit hypocritical, the gentleman offering this amendment, to add funds for the Great Lakes restoration also offered language which was put in the bill to defund the Great Lakes restoration over the ballast water standards. That amendment would save----