WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said she is proud that the Appropriations Committee advanced two bills.
“As West Virginia continues to suffer from job loss caused by this administration’s anti-coal policies, we are also grappling with the devastating drug epidemic and a lack of adequate infrastructure needed to attract new businesses and opportunity,” Capito, who is chair of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, said. “I am proud that the
Appropriations Committee has advanced two bills with my input that take a stand against the war on coal, and boost initiatives to fight the drug epidemic, improve rural broadband access and strengthen our economy.”
The committee approved the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017 and the Financial Services, General Government Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2017.
The Interior, Environmental and Related Agencies Appropriation Bill cuts the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget $31.2 million from last year and stops executive overreach by prohibiting the Stream Buffer Zone rule, which would substantially impair the domestic coal industry’s ability to meet the nation’s energy needs; prohibiting the EPA Waters of the United States rule; and continuing to prohibit the EPA from regulating certain types of ammunition and fishing tackle.
While cuts are made to EPA programs and offices that have overreached in implementing their anti-coal agenda, increased funding is provided for the agency’s intended functions.
The bill also provides $90 million for the continuation of a pilot program in the Office of Surface Mining to help address reclamation and economic development for areas in West Virginia and other coal-producing states that have been disproportionally harmed by anti-coal policies; and fully funds the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program at $480 million.
The Financial Services, General Government Appropriations Bill funds the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program by an additional $5 million, totaling $250 million. It also provides critical assistance to law enforcement agencies operating in drug-trafficking areas throughout the country.
There are 19 counties in West Virginia in the HIDTA Program.
The bill also provides the Drug Free Communities Program $95 million to provide grants to community organizations, aiming to reduce youth substance abuse at the local level; and includes language to improve accountability at the Federal Communications Commission for programs that aim to expand broadband access, particularly in rural areas such as West Virginia.