Water funding faces cuts in 2012 Appropriations bill

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WASHINGTON, DC, July 7, 2011 -- The House Appropriations Committee has released its proposed FY2012 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which outlines funding for the Department of the Interior, EPA, the Forest Service, and various independent and related agencies.

Under the proposed legislation, EPA would be funded at $7.1 billion, which is $1.5 billion below last year’s level, and $1.8 billion below the President’s request.

Specifically, $967 million would be cut from Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds; $102 million cut in grants for state implementation of environmental programs; $76 million cut in EPA regulatory programs; $49 million cut in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative; $4 million cut in the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Initiative; and $8 million cut in the Puget Sound Restoration Initiative.

The legislation also includes a total cut to climate change programs of $83 million from last year.

The bill also includes a number of policy riders aimed at EPA. These include:

  • A provision clarifying current permitting activities for the Outer Continental Shelf, and setting parameters for EPA approval of exploration permits.
  • A provision prohibiting funds for defining coal ash as hazardous waste
  • A provision prohibiting funds for the EPA from expanding storm water discharge requirements
  • A provision prohibiting the EPA from changing the definition of “navigable waterways” under the Clean Water Act

Other environmental policy riders include:

  • A provision prohibiting the Office of Surface Mining from moving forward with proposed updates to the “stream buffer rule”
  • A provision instituting a one-year prohibition on the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources
  • A provision providing exemptions from greenhouse gas reporting for certain agricultural activities

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