Western Caucus Spearheads Repeal of WOTUS, Delists Wolves in Interior Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Congressional Western Caucus, including Chairman Rep. Paul A. Gosar (AZ-04), Vice Chairman for Indian Affairs and Oceans Don Young (AK-At Large), Chief Rules Officer Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Chief Defense and Interior Officer Chris Stewart (UT-02), Chief Infrastructure and Forestry Officer Bruce Westerman (AR-04), and Western Caucus Members Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and Bob Gibbs (OH-07) released the following statements after H.R. 6147, the Department of the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act of 2019, passed the House of Representatives:
Congressman Gosar stated, “I applaud the good work of Chairman Calvert and other Members of the Western Caucus who were instrumental in passing an Interior Appropriations Bill that includes our priorities and yields significant benefits for local communities. This important legislation streamlines and improves multiple processes within public land management agencies and reverses numerous burdensome regulations from the Obama Administration, including the job-killing Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS). WOTUS adversely affects normal farming practices, places massive swaths of land and water under the control of the federal government, and tramples on state water rights. I am extremely proud of the Caucus for getting our WOTUS repeal language and a plethora of other priorities through the House.”
Congressman Young stated, “I am pleased to support this funding bill, which includes several provisions critical to Alaskans. Not only does this bill include language to provide revenue sharing with Alaska Native Corporations for funds collected from resource development in ANWR, but I was also able to secure two amendments to protect Alaskan interests. One would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from changing placer mining plans of operation with respect to remediation, and the other would restore full funding to Native American Community Development Financial Institutions. This bill is good for the Nation, and particularly important for Alaska.”
Congressman Newhouse stated, “I am pleased the House approved this bill that includes priorities for rural areas of Central Washington, including wildfire prevention, the Payments in Lieu of Taxes program, the gray wolf delisting, and funding for the Wolf-Livestock Loss Demonstration Program. Additionally, I applaud the inclusion of my amendment to prohibit the use of funds to transport grizzly bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem. Transporting grizzlies to the North Cascades would have a harmful impact on rural residents. Federal agencies must take sound science into account, as well as the input of the local community, and local residents’ voices must be heard.”
Congressman Stewart said, “I am pleased that the Interior and Environment Appropriations bill passed the House today. This legislation includes several priorities that are critical to Utah and the West. It addresses the wild horse overpopulation issue, increases PILT funding, and prioritizes healthy forests and wildland fire protection.”
Congressman Westerman stated, “Appropriations passed by the House today benefits all Americans. One item I am proud to see make it into this year’s bill is the repeal of the blatant water grab by the Obama-era EPA that attempted to put everyone’s backyard under federal control, harming our ranchers and farmers in the process. Our vote to repeal Obama’s WOTUS rule will help ensure local landowners have the ability to work their land without fear of the federal government. The rule simply went too far and did more harm than good.”
Congressman LaMalfa said, “This funding measure passed by the House today funds critical infrastructure programs and reins in overreaching policies by the EPA and other agencies. This includes language prohibiting the Army Corps from regulating normal farming activities exempt under the law, as well as a full repeal of the WOTUS rule. Since the federal government owns such a large portion of the land in Northern California and across the West, this legislation allocates tax dollars for PILT in order to make up for budget shortfalls in rural communities. I also authored language in the bill to increase funding to jumpstart the process of eradicating illegal marijuana grows on federally owned lands, which pose a great danger to surrounding communities. I’m pleased the House has passed another important appropriations measure that will benefit our economy – the Senate should adopt it.”
Congressman Mullin said, “The Obama Administration’s misguided Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule has created unnecessary burdens for farmers, ranchers, business owners, and landowners across all of Oklahoma. H.R. 6147 overturns the WOTUS Rule to give Oklahomans more flexibility and less government involvement in their own backyard. Additionally, this legislation included two of my amendments that block funding for the Obama-era Social Cost of Carbon and Methane Rules. Oklahomans need less—not more—red tape in their lives and repealing these onerous regulations eases the regulatory burden they have to shoulder.”
Congressman Gibbs stated, “The House passage of the Interior and Environment appropriations bill is a win for those committed to maintaining and improving our nation’s water quality, with investments in the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, and $75 million for my Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. With so many aging and failing public water utilities, municipalities can use WIFIA to attract private investment for improving water systems and keep rates affordable for their residents. Full funding of $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is also included. This gives the world’s largest source of freshwater the ability to continue its rehabilitation and its support for over $200 billion in economic activity. Finally, the bill fully repeals the 2015 Obama-era Wates of the United States rule, a bureaucratic overreach that expanded EPA jurisdiction beyond congressional intent and in contradiction with court rulings. This rule was opposed by everyone from farmers and ranchers to local governments and property rights advocates. The EPA is now working with states and stakeholders as partners rather than adversaries in writing a new WOTUS rule. Repealing this flawed rule allows a new rule, built on consensus, to be written.”
Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6147, the Department of the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act of 2019 with a vote of 217-199. This bill contains numerous provisions that are important to the Western Caucus including:
· Repealing the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States Rule (WOTUS).
· Delisting gray wolves range-wide as well as delisting of Great Lakes and Wyoming gray wolves.
· $500 million for “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” (PILT) program.
· $3.9 billion for wildland firefighting and prevention programs.
· Providing funds to combat the bark beetle epidemic that is devastating forests throughout the United States.
· The prevention of federal land closures for Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting.
This appropriations bill provides designated funding for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, and several independent agencies.
The text for the Department of the Interior, Environment, Financial Services, and General Government Appropriations Act of 2019, H.R. 6147, can be found HERE.
This legislation also includes more than a dozen amendments that were introduced by Western Caucus Members. These provisions reduce wasteful spending and reverse several heavy-handed regulatory mandates that were imposed by the Obama Administration. The Caucus’ amendments passed today as part of the bill include:
· Pearce (R-NM) – amendment prohibiting the use of funds to carry out any rule-making on the status of the Lesser Prairie Chicken
· Smith (R-MO) – amendment preventing the payment of attorney’s fees as part of any settlement the Federal Government enters into under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
· Lamborn (R-CO) amendment prohibiting the use of funds to implement or enforce the threatened species or endangered species listing of any plant or wildlife that has not undergone a review as required by section 4(c)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973
· Mullin (R-OK) amendment prohibiting the use of funds for enforcing the Obama Administration’s EPA Methane Rule.
· Mullin (R-OK) amendment prohibiting the use of funds for implementing the Social Cost of Carbon Rule.
· Newhouse (R-WA) amendment prohibiting the use of funds to reintroduce grizzly bears into certain areas in the State of Washington.
· Lamborn (R-CO) amendment prohibiting the use of funds to implement or enforce the threatened species listing of the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse under the Endangered Species Act.
· McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) amendment prohibiting the use of funds for the implementation of Washington State’s revised water quality standard.
· Stewart (R-UT) – amendment allowing the Department of Interior to use sterilization in the management of wild horses and burros.
· Amodei (R-NV) – amendment prohibiting the use of funds for the Interior Department to issue a final rule on the “Bi-State” district population of the greater Sage Grouse.
· Rep. Valadao (R-CA) – amendment exempting certain California water projects from additional judicial review in order to prevent unnecessary delays.
· Amodei (R-NV) –amendment prohibits funding to require the transfer of groundwater rights as a condition for approving certain permits.
· Olson (R-TX) – amendment redirects $20,000,000 to the National Maritime Heritage grant program.
· Johnson (R-OH), Griffith (R-VA) – amendments redirects $30,000,000 to the reclamation of abandoned mine lands and allows more states to participate in the program.
· LaMalfa (R-CA) – amendment redirects resources to the National Forest System account for purposes of eradicating, enforcing, and remediating illegal marijuana grow operations on National Forest System land.
· Young (R-AK) – amendment prevents funds from being used to change existing placer mining plan of operations with regard to reclamation activities.
· Abraham (R-LA), Westerman (R-AR), Crawford (R-AR) – amendment prevents the enforcement of limitations or prohibitions on the use of genetically modified crops in commercial agricultural operations conducted on National Wildlife Refuges.
– Congressional Western Caucus