Senate bill would cut EPA funding by $150M

Senate bill would cut EPA funding by $150M
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The Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday introduced an Interior Department and environment spending bill that would cut nearly $150 million in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) next year.

The legislation provides $32.6 billion in funding for the Interior Department, EPA and other agencies. The total is larger than a similar bill the House passed in September, slightly smaller than current funding levels and well above President Trump’s proposal for the agencies.

The EPA would see the biggest cuts. It would receive about $7.9 billion in annual funding, which is $149.5 million less than current levels. The House voted to cut funding for the EPA by $528 million, and Trump proposed slashing the agency's budget by $3.6 billion.

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The Interior Department would receive $12.17 billion under the bill. The legislation would increase the National Park Service budget slightly and includes new funding for a construction backlog facing the service. Interior recently proposed raising fees at several of the country’s most popular national parks in order to pay for construction work.

Other departments covered by the bill — including the Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Surface Mining and the Forest Service — face either small cuts or level funding.

Senators also propose spending $3.6 billion on wildfire suppression.

“In this bill, we direct federal resources where they are needed by investing in programs aimed to protect our land and people, enable new infrastructure projects to boost the economy, and help communities provide vital, basic services,” said Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 Overnight Energy: House to vote on anti-carbon tax measure | Dem says EPA obstructed 'politically charged' FOIA requests | GOP looks to overhaul endangered species law MORE (R-Alaska), who chairs the appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Interior Department and the EPA.

“Most importantly, the investments we’re making today will have an impact on our nation for years to come.”

The federal government is currently operating under a short-term budget that expires next month. The House in September passed a $1.2 trillion bill funding several agencies, including the Interior Department and the EPA, but the Senate hasn’t considered this specific funding package yet.

—This story has been updated