Week ahead: House GOP takes aim at EPA funding

A bill slashing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding and blocking several of its new regulations is scheduled to pass through the House Appropriations Committee. 

Republicans are pushing an Interior and Environment funding bill that cuts $718 million, or 9 percent, from the EPA’s budget in fiscal 2016, on top of the 20 percent cut the agency has absorbed since Republicans took the House in 2011. 

The bill also includes policy riders meant to block agency rulemaking that is key to President Obama’s environmental agenda.

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The EPA’s rules on water oversight, power plant greenhouse gas emissions and even lead content in ammunition and fishing tackle would be blocked under the bill. Democrats on the Appropriations Committee say they will oppose the legislation. 

Republicans bumped funding for Interior Department programs related to wildfire prevention, Native Americans and surface mining, and pushed smaller cuts on the U.S. Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. In all, the bill spends $30.17 billion next fiscal year, $246 million less than current levels and $3 billion less than what Obama requested. 

The committee will mark up the bill on Tuesday, and senators could introduce their version of the bill during the week as well.

EPA rules are the subject of hearings at three other congressional committees. 

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hear testimony on the agency’s coal ash disposal rule on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on the EPA’s management of the federal ethanol mandate. Janet McCabe, the EPA's top regulator for air and radiation, will testify. 

Two House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the EPA’s proposed ozone rule’s impact on manufacturing. The committee’s energy and power panel held a hearing on that issue Friday.

The Senate Energy Committee will hear from two Energy Department nominees on Tuesday: Jonathan Elkind, to be assistant secretary for International Affairs, and Monica Regalbuto, to be assistant secretary for environmental management. The committee’s water and power subcommittee will hold a hearing on seven bills Thursday. 

A House Natural Resources Committee panel will hold a hearing on “Arctic resources and American competitiveness” on Tuesday. The committee’s Federal Lands subcommittee will hear testimony from U.S. Forest Service Deputy Chief Leslie Weldon and Karen Mouritsen, the deputy assistant director of Energy, Minerals and Reality Management at the Bureau of Land Management, on six bills. 

On Wednesday, the House Small Business Committee will hold a hearing on, “the possibility of lifting the crude oil export ban and the effect its removal will have on United States small businesses.”

Off the Hill, the Vatican will release Pope Francis’s environment encyclical on Thursday. Environmentalists around the world are eagerly awaiting the document, in which the pope is expected to make a moral plea for action on climate change. 

Energy Secretary Ernest MonizErnest Jeffrey MonizOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Dems press Trump consumer safety nominee on chemical issues | Lawmakers weigh how to help struggling energy industry | 180 Democrats ask House leadership for clean energy assistance Lawmakers weigh how to help struggling energy industry The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December MORE and Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenBipartisan senators seek funding for pork producers forced to euthanize livestock House Republicans threaten pushback on Saudi Arabia amid oil market slump Overnight Energy: Trump rollback of Obama mileage standards faces court challenges | Court strikes down EPA suspension of Obama greenhouse gas rule | Trump floats cutting domestic oil production MORE (R-N.D.) will speak at the Energy Information Administration’s Energy Conference, which starts Monday. 

The Environmental Law Institute will host a discussion on oil pollution issues on Tuesday. Rodney Slater, President Clinton’s former transportation secretary, will participate. 

The Atlantic Council will host an event on climate change on Tuesday. The ambassadors of the European Union and France, David O’Sullivan and Gerard Araud respectively, will speak. 

 

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