Appropriators send bill slashing EPA to floor

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday sent a bill slashing funding for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the House floor for consideration on a 26-19 vote.

The bill would cut the EPA budget by $1.4 billion. 

The overall Interior, Environment bill would cut spending by $1.2 billion and it contains 31 riders, most of which limit the ability of the EPA to issue regulations.

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said “this bill wisely places a limit on big-government excess — cutting funding for programs and agencies that stifle economic growth rather than encourage it — including reducing the EPA’s budget by 17 percent.”

The bill coming out of subcommittee included riders that limit EPA's power to expand the scope of Clean Water Act oversight, and prevent the Interior Department from toughening regulation of mountaintop-removal coal mining.

During a lengthy markup spread over two days, committee Republicans added 11 riders to the bill.

One, inserted by Rep. Steve Austria (R-Ohio) would prohibit EPA from finalizing greenhouse regulations on cars for model years after 2017.

Another, by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) prohibits the EPA from imposing greenhouse gas regulations on electric utility plants that use fossil fuels.

Last year the GOP tried to insert 39 environmental riders into law but largely failed. The new riders will be the subject of negotiations, likely in the fall after the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

President Obama has threatened to veto the 12 annual spending bills that the House is producing this year because they conform to a lower spending cap than the $1.047 trillion cap in last August’s debt-ceiling deal.