House Passes Interior Appropriations Bill Before Seven Week Recess
On July 14, the House passed the FY 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, marking the first time the House has passed this spending bill since 2009. The $32.2 billion bill was approved by a vote of 231-196 and funds the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Forest Service, the Indian Health Service, and other related agencies. The legislation contains several policy riders on key Obama Administration agency rules and regulations. In particular, the bill contains a provision to halt implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan which would limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. A provision to slow the implementation of the EPA’s new ozone rules is included as well. The bill also prohibits the administration from implementing the Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule which will significantly expand the jurisdiction of the Army Corps and EPA over waterways. The WOTUS rule has received numerous legal challenges and NRMCA continues to remain opposed to the rule. Specifically, NRMCA is concerned about how the expansion of federal jurisdiction over marginal waters would place an undue burden on ready mixed concrete operations, aggregate operations and new construction starts. The rule is currently under a nationwide stay while legal challenges to the rule are worked out in the court system.
In total, four Democrats voted in favor of the bill and 15 Republicans opposed it. Currently, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its FY 2017 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, but floor time for a full Senate vote has not yet been scheduled.