House Appropriations Bill Chops EPA’s State Revolving Funds

The House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2012 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill funding EPA, most of the Interior Department, and other related agencies, on July 13.  Overall, the bill provides$27.5 billion for the agencies, which is 7% less than the FY ‘11 enacted level and 12% less than the President’s budget request. 

Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ken), said in his opening statement at the July 13 markup, “We’ve paid a lot of attention to the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the actions this bill takes related to the EPA are for good purposes – to rein in excessive spending and out-of-control over-regulation.”

The bill shrinks EPA’s budget by $1.5 billion or 18%.  Cuts to the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving fund account for almost $1 billion of this reduction.  These two funds are frequently used by ACWA members to finance a variety of infrastructure projects.  The bill allocates $689 million to the clean water SRF and $829 million to the drinking water SRF, together this is 30% reduction from FY 2011.

 

Numerous policy provisions of interest to ACWA members were also inserted into the appropriations bill including:

  • Prohibiting funds from being spent on the development or implementation of the draft Clean Water Act Guidance
  • HR 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, prohibiting EPA from requiring NPDES permits for the application of aquatic pesticides. This ACWA supported bill has already passed the House but is stalled in the Senate.
  • Preventing the Fish and Wildlife Service from using funds to pursue new ESA listings.
  • Repealing Interior Secretary Salazar’s decision to extend the ban on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.
  • Requiring the Obama Administration to produce a report detailing all the federal funds being spent on climate change programs, projects, and activities.

The Senate had yet to begin work on its version of the Interior and Environment FY 2012 appropriations bill.