House bill would cut EPA funding by $528M

House bill would cut EPA funding by $528M
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House appropriators released a spending bill Tuesday that would cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget by $528 million next year, far less than the $2.6 billion cut President Trump requested.

The legislation would include language requiring the repeal of water jurisdiction regulations and include funding for buyouts at the agency. But it wouldn’t include the deep cuts Trump proposed in May, when administration officials said they wanted to end 50 department programs and eliminate 3,200 of the agency’s 15,000 jobs. 

The spending bill also includes funding for the Interior Department, the Forest Service and related agencies. It’s a $31.4 billion bill, which is $824 million less than current levels and $4.3 billion higher than Trump’s budget.

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Appropriators aim to pass on small cuts to the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund would absorb a $125 million cut from its current $400 million budget. The bill also provides $290 million for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, programs that Trump proposed zeroing-out in his budget.

House Republicans have long tried to pare down the size of the EPA’s budget. But the cuts Trump proposed were significantly higher than they were willing to accept, a message they delivered to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt when he testified before the Appropriations Committee last month.

“The agencies funded in the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill do important work protecting public lands, the air we breathe and the water we drink,” Rep. Ken CalvertKenneth (Ken) Stanton CalvertMORE (R-Calif.), who chairs the Appropriations Committee’s Interior and EPA panel, said in a statement. Calvert’s subcommittee will mark up the bill on Wednesday.

“Our subcommittee prioritized proven programs that have a meaningful impact to achieve these goals while also ensuring our economy can continue to grow.”