WASHINGTON – Congressman David McKinley is praising the House of Representatives' 2017 Interior and Environmental Appropriations bill that would cut back on many of the EPA’s rules and regulations that he says have hurt West Virginia's economy.
If passed by the Senate and signed by the President Barack Obama, it would be the first time an Interior appropriations bill would be approved into law as a stand-alone since 1996.
“For too long the EPA has been devastating working families in West Virginia and around the country, with excessive rules and regulations that have closed businesses and sent people to the unemployment line," McKinley, a Republican serving West Virginia's First Congressional District, said in a statement. "If we are going to create jobs and put people back to work, we need to stop this kind of executive overreach."
According to the House Appropriations Committee, the bill funds the EPA at $7.98 billion, a reduction of $164 million below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $291 million below the president’s budget request. Within this total, the EPA’s regulatory programs are reduced by $43 million (6 percent) below the current level and $187 million (21 percent) below Obama's request.
The legislation also rejects Obama's proposed increase in staffing, holding the EPA to the current capacity of 15,000 positions, the lowest since 1989.
"This bill will stop many harmful and unnecessary regulations – by the Environmental Protection Agency and others – that hurt recovering communities and kill jobs,” Commitee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., said in a statement.
“Job creation and wage growth continue to be stifled because American job creators wake up every day worrying about what new regulation the Obama administration will issue next," Interior Subcommittee Chairman Ken Calvert, R-Calif., said. "The EPA’s overreach continues to cause economic harm, and this bill denies funding for more job-killing regulators while providing necessary resources to effective programs that actually improve the environment and protect our natural resources."
The bill contains a number of legislative provisions related to the EPA. They include:
• A prohibition on the EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants, and the elimination of funding for greenhouse gas “New Source Performance Standards”;
• A prohibition on the EPA from making changes to the definition of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act;
• A prohibition on the EPA from making changes to the definition of “fill material”;
• A prohibition on the EPA from imposing duplicative financial assurance requirements;
• A reporting requirement on the backlog of mining permits awaiting approval;
• A prohibition on new methane requirements; and
• A prohibition on the regulation of the lead content of ammunition and fishing tackle.
“Now we are using the power of the purse to hold the EPA accountable and stop its destructive policies while funding necessary programs that promote clean water, fight wildfires, and protect our natural resources,” McKinley said.
McKinley said he worked to include the following provisions:
• No funds shall be used to implement the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) or New Source Performance Standard;
• No funds shall be used to implement the Stream Protection Rule;
• Prohibits use of funds to further develop or carry out the Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS);
• Prohibits funds to implement proposed EPA Methane Emissions Rule;
• No funds shall be used to carry out the moratorium on the Federal Coal Lease Program;
• None of the funds made available shall be used for the social cost of carbon to be incorporated into rulemaking, guidance document or the environmental decision-making process;
• Prohibits funds from being used to implement any changes to royalty rates or product valuation regulations under the federal, coal, oil, and gas leasing programs;
• Authorizes a report regarding the implementation regarding the EPA’s rule on coal ash;
• Provides much needed reforms to the EPA’s new Ozone Standard; and
None of the funds made available will be used to implement the DOI’s Well Control Rule unless or until the Secretary (a) revises it to incorporate information learned from additional workshops with industry experts; (b) provides at least 180 days for public comment; and (c) issues are revised final version of the Well Control Rule.