Chairman Mike Simpson’s Grazing Provisions Pass Appropriations Committee
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, moved the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY2013 through committee this week. The bill contains several provisions essential for preserving responsible access to public grazing and may be considered by the full House within the next month.
“This bill strikes an appropriate balance between resource management, resource protection, and resource enjoyment,” said Simpson. “The bill provides the resources necessary to manage federal lands for a multitude of uses while at the same time providing the funding required to protect our most treasured parks, forests, and refuges. It ensures that agencies have the resources they need to meet their obligations but does so within a reduced budget that reflects the fiscal challenges facing our nation. It is not a perfect bill - it is a compromise bill that focuses on the biggest issues facing public land managers and the very real challenges facing the Treasury and taxpayers.”
The bill also addresses the growing, and unaccountable, costs to taxpayers of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). Simpson is concerned that while EAJA was intended to provide a mechanism for lower and middle income individuals to challenge the actions of an onerous federal government, it has become a slush fund for wealthy extremists in search of taxpayer funding of their unending, and oftentimes frivolous, lawsuits.
“The Equal Access to Justice Act is the perfect example of a well-intended federal program that has become far too expensive and morphed into something far removed from its intended purpose,” said Simpson. “Today, EAJA is funding frivolous and legitimate lawsuits alike and doing so at great cost to the taxpayer. The Interior bill shines a light on EAJA’s excesses by requiring detailed reports on who is receiving taxpayer money and how much they’re getting. This is information the public has a right to see but has been difficult, or impossible, to get for far too many years.”
Highlights of the bill and report: