The House Committee on Appropriations is expected to debate the FY18 funding bill for the Department of the Interior, EPA, and other agencies later on Tuesday. The bill funds key Great Lakes priorities, including:
- Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: $300 million (same as FY2017 enacted, $300 million more than President’s request)
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund: $1.144 billion ($250 million less than FY2017 enacted, $250 million less than President’s request)
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund: $863 million (same as FY2017 enacted, same as President’s request)
- $460,000 for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration program
- $10.4 million for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Asian carp prevention work in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and Great Lakes ($2 million more than FY2017 enacted)
Many other important EPA programs were flat funded in the House bill: BEACH grants ($9.55 million); Sec. 319 program ($170.9 million); Sec. 106 Pollution Control grants ($230.8 million); Public Water Systems ($101.96 million); National Estuary Program ($26.7 million). In addition to the Clean Water SRF, a few EPA programs were cut: some enforcement programs, Environmental Justice (-$1.01 million); and other geographic programs like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound.
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An article in CQ Roll Call also suggests that Republicans are working to figure out how much support they might have for an omnibus appropriations bill, funding each of the 12 bills to come out of the various appropriations committees. A key question is what riders might be attached to such a bill. Many members are expressing hesitation to support an omnibus bill without knowing first what riders might be attached.