US House Democrats target Republican policy riders on spending bill
Washington (Platts)--25Jul2011/321 pm EDT/1921 GMT
Democrats in the US House of Representatives Monday promised to offer a
number of amendments aimed at blocking the nearly 40 policy riders Republicans
attached to the fiscal 2012 Interior, Environment and related agencies
spending bill, which is scheduled to reach the House floor this week.
The bill (H.R. 2584) includes dozens of "policy riders" that would,
among other things, block the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to
regulate GHG emissions from power plants and refineries, prevent the
Department of Interior from protecting additional animals and plants under
the Endangered Species Act and lifting a prohibition Interior imposed last
month on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.
Washington Representative Norm Dicks,the top Democrat on the
Appropriations Committee, said he expects to gain Republican support for
amendments that would withdraw the uranium mining provision, a measure
blocking new additions to the endangered species list and a provision that
regulates ballast water on ships.
Article continues below...
Sign up for Inside Energy
Inside Energy brings you reporting on energy policy developments in the US government and how policy decisions and implementation impact the production, delivery, and use of energy resources. Content includes oil, natural gas, electricity, coal, nuclear energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The effort is important, Dicks said, because "We can't take for granted
the Senate will be able to take all of these riders out."
Representative Michael Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania Republican, will
co-sponsor the amendment to restore the Endangered Species Act funding,
spokesman Darren Smith said.
Other riders targeting regulation of the energy sector would delay for
18 months EPA rules on power plant air toxics emissions and cross-state
pollution, delay the next round of greenhouse-gas rules for motor vehicles
and force Interior to provide detailed reports on denied offshore drilling
permits, among other things.
Interior, EPA, the US Forest Service and related agencies would receive
a total of $27.5 billion under the bill -- $3.8 billion below President Barack
Obama's requested levels for those agencies. EPA would get $7.1 billion, $1.5
billion less than the current-year level, and Interior would be funded at
$9.9 billion, $720 million below fiscal 2011.
On Thursday, the White House threatened to veto the bill, citing the
overall spending level and the ban on implementing greenhouse gas rules among
The US Senate has not started crafting its version of the Interior
spending bill, but Democratic leaders there have said they would not accept
the House bill.
--Keith Chu, firstname.lastname@example.org