2012-01-19 "The Sneakiest Anti-Environment Moves By House Republicans" by Gina-Marie Cheeseman
In one of their sneakiest moves yet, House Republicans included almost 40 anti-environment riders on the omnibus spending bill and the payroll tax cut extension. In the tax bill, only one rider made the cut: requiring the president to make a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline within 60 days, which was a response to the White House delaying a decision on the pipeline until 2013. The requirement did not achieve its purpose of forcing Obama to approve the pipeline since the Obama administration announced it rejected a permit for the Keystone KL Pipeline on January 18. Score one for Obama!
The good news is that most of the riders were cut from the spending bill. However, three survived: a provision to block funding to enforce new light bulb efficiency standard, a provision to exempt an aspect of Arctic drilling from Clean Air Act standards, and a provision that exempts the logging industry from Clean Water Act pollution limits.
There is more bad news. The spending bill also includes reduced funding for the DOE, the Department of the Interior and the EPA. The DOE received $1.5 billion less than fiscal year 2011 levels, but $1 billion more than the original House version and $200 million more than the Senate version. The Section 1705 loan guarantee program for renewable energy projects lost its remaining $181 million, and research and development funds for developing fossil fuels decreases by $51 million.
However, there is a bit of good news: the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy received $1.8 billion, a $20 million increase from last year. The ARPA-E program, which helps develop new energy technologies, received a $95 million increase in funding.
Unfortunately, the EPA received $240 million less. Funding for EPA’s clean air and climate research program is reduced by $14 million. The EPA’s regulatory development office is reduced by $12 million, and the EPA’s air regulatory programs are reduced by $14 million.