House panel passes FY18 Interior-EPA funding bill

Late Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee passed a bill funding the Department of the Interior and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for fiscal year 2018. Overall, the funding levels are 3 percent less that the $32.37 billion for the agencies in the current fiscal year, and 16 percent—or $4.3 billion—above what was included in the White House’s budget request.

As reported earlier, the bill contains funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and flat funds other important EPA programs (such as the Sec. 319 program and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund) while cutting some (like the Clean Water State Revolving Fund).

This bill also cut Department of the Interior agencies and programs, too. For example: Fish and Wildlife Service’s budget was cut by $38 million (NAWCA and State and Tribal Wildlife grants were flat funded); National Park Service was cut by nearly $65 million; and U.S. Geological Survey was cut by over $46 million.  Most of the cuts for the land agencies seem to come from cuts to land acquisition programs.

The bill also has a number of anti-environmental riders, including one that preempts the public process around the repeal of EPA’s Clean Water Rule.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is not expected to act on its bill until after the congressional break in August, if at all.  However, the committee may release draft legislation beforehand similar to last year.


Senate subcommittee moves Army Corps funding

The Senate’s Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee passed a FY18 funding bill for the Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday.  Neither the bill or the report have been made publicly available, but both are expected to include Asian carp language designed to address priority needs, such as releasing the Brandon Road study ASAP.  The full committee is meeting this morning to consider the legislation.

For general bill highlights, go here.