CROmnibus FY2015. The Good, the Bad, and the (lots of) Ugly

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Congress passed the CRomnibus for FY2015 in an effort to prevent a government shutdown. Members of the appropriations committees and leadership are declaring the bill a compromise (primarily from not including all the bad riders and continued (or increased) funding for important programs), but several provisions may cause short and long-term impacts to efforts to protect wildlife, livestock, horses, and the environment, not to mention many other non-climate, animal welfare, wildlife, environment related efforts. While appropriations bills should not contain policy “riders,” this bill contains many. One such rider prevents ESA listing of the Sage Grouse, a topic we discussed in a recent Federal Policy Week posting.

Many, but not enough, Members opposed the bill. President Obama backed the bill. Some selected speeches and statements on the bill appear below, before the summary of some key provisions.

  1. House Leader Pelosi (opposing the bill): http://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/pelosi-floor-speech-opposing-omnibus-spending-bill/
  2. House Speaker Boehner (supporting the bill): http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/house-passes-responsible-spending-bill-sets-challenge-immigration
  3. Senate Appropriations Chair Mikulski – (supporting the bill): http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/chairwoman-mikulski-floor-statement-fy15-omnibus

The House Appropriations Committee summary (Republican viewpoint) is available at http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=393925 There also section-by-section summaries available on this site, some of which I have cited below in the highlights section. While this is not a comprehensive summary of all the funding provisions, summaries of the key sections (as written by the House Republicans) appear below, as well as some additional provisions that I believe will be of interest to you, and therefore, have chosen to highlight (some directly quoting the language provided in the summaries).

HIGH(or low)LIGHTS:

Division A:     Agriculture.

House Republican Committee Summary: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ag_press_summary.pdf

  1. Bill Language: “APHIS’ inspection data demonstrates that there was inconsistency in conducting horse inspections during recent shows. Due to the subjective nature of the horse inspections, the agency is encouraged to provide greater transparency, more written communication with stakeholders on the rules and regulations such as the scar rule, and improved consistency to the extent possible when enforcing the Horse Protection Act.”
  2. Total funding for Animal Welfare was $28,707 M ($697 M for Horse Protection).
  3. USDA –NRCS

The bill provides $859 M for conservation operations, an increase of over $30 M. Unfortunately (and shortsightedly), the bill cuts funding for EQIP and the Conservation Stewardship Program).

(For additional information on conservation programs see: NSAC blog )

Division B: Commerce, Justice, Science.

House Republican Committee summary: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/cjs_press_summary.pdf

  1. Funding is $5.44 B, an increase from FY2014. Includes funding for various programs like satellites, oceans and fisheries.
  2. There is no funding for a National Ocean Policy.
  3. Funding is $822 M.
  4. Prohibits funding for any requirements for minimum riparian buffers under “Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery”

Division D: Energy and Water.

House Republican Committee Summary: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ew_press_summary.pdf

  1. The bill undermines scientifically based, sound policies that protect our Nation’s waterways. Included are “Provisions restricting the application of the Clean Water Act in certain agricultural areas, including farm ponds and irrigation ditches.”
  2. “A provision prohibiting funding for the Army Corps to change the definition of “fill material.’”

Division F: Interior and Environment.

House Republican Committee Summary: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/interior_press_summary.pdf

General Provisions:

  1. Excludes “the Administration and Senate proposals to impose new fees on onshore oil and gas producers.”
  2. “Provides a $13 million increase for the Bureau of Land Management to improve onshore energy and minerals development.”
  3. “Provides $150 million for the Office of Surface Mining, including

$69 million in state grants to allow states to implement programs without increasing fees on the mining industry.”

  1. Requires Interior and the Forest Service to use state wildlife data and analyses as the primary sources in making decisions (i.e. land use, planning).
  2. Allows the Secretary of Interior “enter into multi-year cooperative agreements with non-profit organizations for long-term care of wild horses and burros.”

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

  1. Cuts EPA funding by $60 million compared to FY2014 (over 20% since 2010).
  2. Excludes an Administration proposal for new or expanded important regulation.
  3. Restricts EPA regulations in several areas – harming the environment, wildlife, and public health, including provisions on: excluding covering lead content in ammunition and fishing tackle and, excluding a major source of GHG emissions, livestock and manure management systems, from regulations.
  4. Directs EPA to speed up the processing of mining permits with the Corps.
  5. Prevents EPA from promulgating or issuing a regulation that includes permits under Title V of the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, water vapor, or methane emissions.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

  1. Funding is $1.1 billion, slightly more than FY2014.
  2. Excludes necessary increases to grazing fees on federal public lands.
  3. Provides funding to increase grazing permit applications for reduce cost use of public lands for private individuals.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

  1. Funded at $1.4 billion, which includes funding for important conservation and management programs.
  2. Provides compensation ($1M) to ranchers for livestock killed by wolves.
  3. Prevents essential listing under ESA, including for Sage Grouse. (For more information on Sage Grouse provision here).

See more detailed information on environmental provisions here.

Division J: State: (This bill includes funding for international wildlife conservation and anti-poaching & trafficking efforts).

Republican House Appropriations Committee Summary: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/sfops_press_summary.pdf

  1. Prohibits funding for “Green Climate Fund.”

More Information:

  1. New York Times
  2. Think Progress
  3. The Hill
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