WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) fought successfully to cut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by $164 million and halt the implementation of new EPA rules that would hurt coal mining.
These provisions are included in the Fiscal Year 2017 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which the House Appropriations Committee passed Wednesday. Rep. Jenkins is a member of the committee and serves on its Interior subcommittee.
The bill rejects the president’s $291 million increase for the EPA, instead cutting the EPA’s budget by $164 million. While the EPA’s core functions such as promoting safe and reliable drinking water are appropriately funded, the bill refuses to grant the EPA additional funds to continue its war on coal. The bill also rejects the president’s proposed staffing increase for the EPA, keeping staff levels the same as they were in 1989.
“I went through the EPA’s budget line by line to identify wasteful and anti-coal programs to cut. This bill will reduce the EPA’s ability to inflict its job-killing rules and regulations on West Virginians. The power of the purse is one of the most important tools I have to stop the EPA’s war on coal, and I will continue to use every means possible to keep the EPA from regulating our coal jobs out of existence,” Rep. Jenkins said.
The bill also includes $90 million to continue a pilot program to accelerate the reclamation of abandoned mine lands and revitalize economic development in Appalachia. Additionally, it would require the EPA to report on the backlog of mining permits awaiting approval. It also provides $480 million for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program, which provides funds to communities with federal land to offset lost property taxes.
The bill also prohibits the EPA from:
· Implementing new ozone standards
· Using funds for new greenhouse gas regulations for new and existing power plants
· Making changes to the definition of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act
· Changing the definition of fill material
· Continuing its job-killing changes to the stream buffer rule through the Office of Surface Mining
· Regulating the lead content of ammunition and fishing tackle.