R ep. Mike Simpson's subcommittee has finished its work on the interior and environment budget, and the big loser should come as no surprise at all. It's the Environmental Protection Agency. Simpson has been an outspoken EPA critic - and no fan of the Obama administration's efforts to increase EPA funding. And so, the overall interior and environment budget of $28 billion represents a $ 1.2 billion cut from 2011 -12. However, the EPA takes a $ 1.4 billion cut, and the budget imposes a hiring freeze on the agency.
Said Simpson recently: "There are those who will no doubt try to portray Republicans as not supporting clean water, clean air, and a clean environment, but such assertions are simply untrue. The reality is that the EPA has received unprecedented and unsustainable increases in recent years. In an environment of historic budget deficits and reduced spending, it should come as no surprise that the agency that saw the greatest increases over the last few years will inevitably see the greatest cuts."
THE PUSH BACK
Several environmental groups - the Izaak Walton League of America, National Wudlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited - took the committee to task. Of particular concern to them is language restricting the EP &; ability to use the Clean Water Act to protect streams and wetlands, one of several congressional efforts to weaken the law.
"Once again, the House Interior Appropriations bill includes a rider barring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from finalizing and implementing science-based Clean Water Act guidance," the groups said in a joint statement.
"The attacks on the Clean Water Act are unprecedented in recent memory. Not one, but a growing number of threats are converging on the water resources and fish and wildlife that matter most to sportsmen. Members of Congress should focus more on
restoring protections for our waters than racing each other to tear them down and should work with EPA and the Corps to enable the agencies to effectively implement the Clean Water Act."
As Simpson runs for an eighth term this fall, opposed by state Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, you can expect this budget, and the EPA, to come up a lot on the campaign trail.
Here's the Simpson news release, in full:
The House Interior and the Environment Appropnations Subcommittee, which is chaired by Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, today marked up its appropriations act for fiscal year 2013. The act provides a responsible level of fundingfor the Department of the Interior, the EPA, and related agencies, including the us. Forest Service, by saving $1.2 billion from the current fiscal year's level and focusing on proven, core programs.
"The Interior and Environment bill addresses the fundamental challenges facing the agencies within its jurisdiction while doing so...
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