We’ve failed. Congrats to Lisa Jackson. The House GOP get an “F-” for effort in reining in the EPA.
As Steve Milloy worried about earlier this week in his Washington Times op-ed, House Republicans have squandered an entire year.
Despite an almost single-minded focus on the EPA by House Republicans this year, the omnibus spending bill doesn’t include many environmental riders for the agency.
The House and Senate arrived at an agreement late Thursday night to avoid a government shutdown. It would cut a relatively modest $219 million from the EPA’s $8.68 billion enacted fiscal year 2011 budget, bringing the agency in at $8.46 billion.
House Republican leadership said Thursday that the EPA’s “unparalleled” budget has led to regulatory overreach.
This year, House Republicans voted 191 times to “weaken environmental protections,” including 27 votes blocking climate change action, 77 votes on the Clean Air Act, 28 on the Clean Water Act and 47 on public lands and coastal waters, according to a report released Thursday by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). The EPA was the focus of 114 of these votes, the report says.
Yet almost none of the language to pull back EPA’s mercury emissions rules, halt Clean Water Act expansion or dramatically overhaul the regulatory process made it into the omnibus spending bill.
The bill has some compromise language, but for the most part it did not hit on the more contentious EPA requirements.
A few riders would affect EPA programs:
One rider would keep the EPA from requiring states to permit storm water runoff from logging roads for the rest of the fiscal year, though the agency is not yet doing that. The language is aimed at a federal appeals court ruling; the Supreme Court is currently considering hearing the case.
And while delays of some EPA health assessments were taken out of the bill, conference report language would require EPA to consider some of an advisory board’s concerns about its assessment for formaldehyde — a longtime issue for Sen. David Vitter (R-La.).
The bill continues provisions from previous years blocking the EPA from requiring permits for emissions from livestock production and from requiring greenhouse gas reporting on manure management systems.
Senate Democrats did agree to language that would “change the responsibility for issuing air permits for the Outer Continental Shelf from the EPA to the Department of the Interior. All of the Clean Air Act and the Department of Interior’s requirements for permits would remain intact,” said the office of Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee.
And one rider that made it on could be a harbinger of things to come: EPA, the Forest Service and the Interior Department must, within 60 days, provide the House and Senate appropriations committees with information on how much they spend on court settlements.
Some GOP members have regularly accused the EPA of encouraging environmentalists to sue, only to settle the cases out of court.
Though there were several regulatory riders attached to the last-minute funding bill, few of them were for EPA initiatives, and the concessions were extremely limited compared with earlier GOP efforts.
Dicks said in a statement Thursday night: “I am pleased that we were able to resolve the major disagreements that Democrats expressed regarding legislative provisions inserted by House Republicans into several of these bills. These contentious policy riders had no place in our annual appropriations bills, and it was encouraging that we were able to remove nearly all of them from the final version of this bill”…