Interior FY2013 Appropriations Bill Approved by Committee
Washington, June 28, 2012
The House Appropriations Committee marked up the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2013 today. Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, who chairs the Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, put forth a bill that responds to our nation’s fiscal crisis by cutting $1.2 billion from the current fiscal year’s level. The bill shifts the focus away from efforts to grow government and puts it back on proven, core programs.
“The Subcommittee has made very difficult choices in preparing this budget proposal, but at the end of the day, what this Committee is attempting to do is reduce spending, create more certainty in the marketplace, and promote an economic environment conducive to job growth,” said Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson. “The bill reins in funding and overzealous regulation at the EPA and reduces overall spending for the third year in a row. We’ve made some difficult decisions in this bill - decisions that will help reduce our budget deficit while funding many important agencies and programs at sustainable and appropriate levels.”
The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2013 funds agencies under the bill at $28 billion, a $1.7 billion cut from the President’s budget request. The EPA will see an additional $1.4 billion in cuts from the current level, which constitutes a cut of 17%. The bill includes $3.2 billion for wildfire fighting and prevention programs, a $6 million increase over the current year. Among its many provisions:
The bill also shifts funding away from unproven programs and government growth and focuses it on agencies’ core missions and programs that have demonstrated value to taxpayers. The legislation also includes provisions to rein in various problematic, costly, and potentially job-killing regulatory actions by the Administration, including provisions related to the “stream buffer rule,” changes to the definition of “navigable waters” under the Clean Air Act, and “silviculture” regulations.
During the Full Committee's consideration of the bill, Simpson offered an amendment which removed language related to the National Forest Service's management of conflicts between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep. Simpson said he instead plans to convene meetings of the interested parties and work toward a less controversial and more collaborative solution that does not pose a threat to bighorn sheep or put ranching families out of business.
“I got involved in this issue because I care deeply for our ranchers and for the tribes and sportsmen who work so hard on bighorn sheep conservation. I got involved to find a reasonable solution and tried to work with ranchers, hunters, and land management agencies to solve this problem. Fighting over this problem serves no purpose and does not benefit hunting or ranching. As a result, I am pulling this provision. However, I am only doing this to have all interested parties come to the table and work with me on a solution. Too often, one side or the other is satisfied with the status quo. In this case it is not acceptable—and losing part of our heritage, whether it be bighorn sheep in Idaho or ranchers in Idaho—is not an option. I intend to hold a round table soon to discuss this problem and potential solutions,” said Simpson.
The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2013 passed committee and it may be considered on the House floor in the coming weeks.