WH threatens to veto energy spending bill

The White House threatened Wednesday to veto a $34 billion House spending bill for the Energy Department (DOE) and Army Corps of Engineers over controversial environmental measures.

The appropriations bill for fiscal 2015, which is meant to fund programs under the DOE and the Army Corps, seeks to boost the coal industry by limiting enforcement of Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

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"The bill includes objectionable environmental riders that would prevent the use of funds to address known deficiencies and regulatory uncertainties related to Clean Water Act regulations that protect important aquatic resources while supporting economic development," the White House said in a statement Wednesday. 

While the riders only specifically restrict the Army Corps of Engineers from working on key EPA-related rules, it would likely place limits on finalizing the rules that cover mining waste and the corps’s jurisdiction over bodies of water in the U.S.

The first rider prohibits the Army Corps from working on a revision to a 2008 rule that defines "fill material," or waste discharged from mining operations such as mountaintop mining.

Another rider would prevent the Corps from working on a rule with the EPA to clarify its jurisdictional authority over streams and wetlands in the U.S. 

The House GOP has called the EPA proposal a "power grab," it says would "cripple the U.S. economy." 

In another spending bill for 2015 announced Tuesday, the House also attempts to block the EPA's ability to work on the rule. 

The administration said the bill for the DOE and the Army Corps also "significantly underfunds critical investments that develop American energy sources to build a clean and secure energy future, support the emerging clean energy technologies that create high-quality jobs, and enhance the Nation's economic competitiveness."

The House is expected to vote on the energy and water bill Thursday.